Alarm fatigue

The Globe investigates the lack of response, or inadequate response, to alarms on cardiac monitors in hospitals, which have led to deaths.

Wide heart monitor use tied to missed alarms

Matthew Cavanaugh for The Boston Globe

Recent studies show that a large percentage of patients who are on cardiac monitors do not need to be — an overuse of technology that contributes to alarm fatigue.

For nurses, it’s a constant dash to respond to alarms

All morning long, nurses heard — and responded to — constant beeping, dinging, and chiming; some kind of alarm sounded at least every minute.

special report

Patient alarms often unheard, unheeded

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

March 26, 2012

FDA working to trim hospital ‘alarm fatigue’

The FDA is intensifying its scrutiny of monitors and other medical devices in an effort to reduce the ‘‘alarm fatigue’’ that has been linked to hundreds of deaths nationally.

Oct. 31, 2011 | G Cover

Hospital noise hinders recovery

Studies suggest that patients need peace and quiet to heal, yet hospitals are some of the noisiest places around.

Dec. 11, 2011

// Ventilator errors are linked to 119 deaths

More than a hundred patients have died since 2005 in incidents involving the machines’ alarms, warnings that are often ignored or missed by overtaxed caregivers.

Sept. 21, 2011

‘Alarm fatigue’ a factor in 2d hospital death

The second patient death in four years involving “alarm fatigue’’ at UMass Memorial has pushed the hospital to intensify efforts to prevent nurses from tuning out monitor warning alarms.