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FDA working to trim hospital ’alarm fatigue’

The Boston Globe, March 26, 2012

The Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to reduce "alarm fatigue" in hospitals by intensifying its pre-market review of medical devices that sound alarms and could contribute to the desensitization of nurses—a problem that The Boston Globe reported last year was linked to hundreds of deaths. Alarms on such monitors and on medication pumps, ventilators, and beds already blare endlessly in hospitals, and one of the FDA's top device officials indicated that he wants to keep new products that do not serve an important function from needlessly adding to the cacophony.