‘Alarm Fatigue’ Cited In Patient Death At UMass Memorial

WORCESTER (AP) — UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester is stepping up efforts to prevent nurses from tuning out monitor warning alarms following the death of a patient whose alarms signaling a fast heart rate and potential breathing problems went unanswered for nearly an hour.

The 60-year-old man died in August 2010, but the death was only reported to the state in the spring.

Officials say the death may be the result of so-called “alarm fatigue.”

It was the second such death at the hospital in four years.

The state cited various violations by the hospital, including not responding to alarms “in a timely manner.”

The Boston Globe reports that hospital officials refused comment on the latest death, but assured the state Public Health Department that it is taking steps to improve care.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


More From CBS Boston

Summer of Savings
Download Weather App

Listen Live