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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Dec. 11, 2011

Ventilator errors are linked to 119 deaths

Warnings are often ignored, missed by overtaxed caregivers

More than a hundred patients who depend on ventilators to breathe have died since 2005 in incidents involving the machines’ warning alarms, such as caregivers failing to respond to beeps warning of a problem or setting alarms improperly so they sounded too softly or not at all.

An analysis of federal safety reports by the Globe shows that at least 119 people died nationwide between 2005 and May 2011 because of such alarm-related problems. And a

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