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The Boston Globe

Health and wellness

special report

Patient alarms often unheard, unheeded

The incessant din of beeping monitors can numb or distract hospital staff; the consequences can be deadly

First of two parts

Fresh from surgery, the patient was wheeled into the intensive care unit and immediately hooked up to a cardiac monitor that would alert nurses to a crisis. Sometime during the following days, though, the cables running from her chest to the machine slipped loose.

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