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False alarms can lead to real problems for Pittsburgh patients

Most people in Pittsburgh have spent time in the hospital or have visited someone in the hospital. Many times, in hospital rooms, there are several different machines hooked up to monitor the patient's vital signs. It may seem that there is always some kind of beeping that is alarming for hospital patients and visitors. But to medical providers, these alarms are just part of their everyday environment. Thus, they may tend to ignore them from time-to-time or turn off an alarm and fail to diagnose a patient's medical emergency. Alarm fatigue is a patient safety concern that may cause serious injuries and even death.

Hospital staff members are exposed to thousands of alarms each year going off in patient's rooms. A study at Johns Hopkins Hospital showed that hospital staff experience 350 alarms per day per bed. Medical staff can easily become desensitized to the constant alarms, which can expose patients to harm. Medical staff can turn the alarms off or down without really checking to make sure the patient is alright.

Hospitals are looking at ways to reduce the false alarms for patients so that when there is a real emergency, it is dealt with in a timely and effective manner. If a patient believes they suffered a worsened condition because of medical staff failing to properly monitor their condition, they may want to speak with an attorney who has experience in medical malpractice. An attorney can review medical records and determine what happened to cause the injury.

Although medical providers may face a barrage of alarms each day in the hospital it is important that they respond properly to all of them. Patients can face serious injuries if their medical condition is not addressed promptly.

Source: fiercehealthcare.com, "Hospitals rank alarm fatigue as top patient safety concern", Ilene MacDonald, Accessed on March 31, 2014

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