Brain injuries and death can result when nurses or other hospital staff fail to respond in a timely manner to alarms sounding in patient rooms. According to the Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert database, 98 alarm-related events were reported between January 2008 and June 2012, with dire consequences resulting in almost every instance. Death occurred in 82 percent of those reported cases and most of the remaining patients suffered permanent loss of function.
Improper monitoring can be the result of a phenomenon known as “alarm fatigue.” That happens when nurses become so accustomed to hearing the alarms they turn down the alarm volume, turn the alarm off, ignore the alarm or improperly adjust the high and low parameters of the alarm settings.
In an effort to reduce the amount of alarm fatigue injuries suffered in hospitals, the Joint Commission is instituting a national patient safety goal on alarm management in hopes of having a standardized and systematic approach to clinical alarm management.
If you believe a loved one suffered a brain injury or died because a monitor alarm was turned off or there was a delay in responding to an alarm, you may want to contact a medical malpractice attorney or law firm which has successfully won hospital alarm lawsuits for a free consultation and additional information.