Alarm Fatigue Lawsuit Settles in Massachusetts, Hospitals Nationwide Respond

Hospitals nationwide have been addressing "alarm fatigue" — a condition where hospital staff become "immune" to the sounds of multiple alarms going off due to the high number of alarms, most of them 'false alarms.' In some cases, hospital staff have disabled the alarms.

The case at the forefront of the alarm fatigue issue, involved the death of an 89-year-old cardiac patient, whose family was represented by Attorney Andrew C. Meyer, Jr. of Lubin & Meyer. The settlement, which was obtained in May of this year, was made public this week by the family of the man who died at Massachusetts General Hospital when nurses did not respond to alarms on his cardiac monitor.

According to a Boston Globe article, "Investigators concluded that alarm fatigue experienced by nurses working among constantly beeping monitors contributed to their inattention. Additionally, the volume for a separate audible crisis alarm on his bedside monitor had been turned off."

The death of this patient, and a series of investigative articles by The Boston Globe have raised awareness of alarm fatigue and prompted hospitals nationwide to examine the problem of alarm fatigue more closely. As reported by the Globe, both the Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals, and the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates monitor manufacturers, participated in an alarm summit last month and plan to further address the issue.

The first article appeared February 15, 2011 titled, Patient Alarms Often Unheard, Unheeded.

For the full article related to the settlement, click on: Alarm fatigue settlement.

Lubin & Meyer PC - New Hampshire's Leader in Medical Malpractice Law

Contact Us button