Beeping hospital equipment leading to some deaths, group says

2013-04-08T16:04:00Z 2013-04-08T16:05:34Z Beeping hospital equipment leading to some deaths, group saysThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 08, 2013 4:04 pm  • 

CHICAGO — Constantly beeping alarms from devices that monitor the vital signs of the critically ill have "desensitized" hospital workers who sometimes ignore the noise, leading to at least two dozen deaths a year on average, a hospital accrediting group said Monday.

And these cases are probably vastly underreported, said the Joint Commission in an alert to hospitals calling attention to the problem.

The beeping devices include those that measure blood pressure and heart rate among other things. Some beep when there’s an emergency, and some beep when they’re not working. That can lead to noise fatigue, and the delay in treating a patient can endanger lives, the accreditation commission says.

Complicating the situation is the abundance of technology, with no standardization for what the beeps mean, said Dr. Ana McKee, the commission’s executive vice president and chief medical officer.

Read more in Tuesday’s Arizona Daily Star and at azstarnet.com

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