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Alarm fatigue linked to patient's death at Massachusetts General Hospital

Boston Globe, April 5, 2010

Federal investigators concluded that "alarm fatigue" experienced by nurses working among constantly beeping monitors contributed to the death of a heart patient at Massachusetts General Hospital in January. In a report, the investigators said 10 nurses on duty that morning could not recall hearing the beeps at the central nurses' station or seeing scrolling tickertape messages on three hallway signs that would have warned them as the patient's heart rate fell and finally stopped over a 20-minute span. Mass. General executives said that they have taken numerous steps to correct the problems and that the federal Medicare program approved the hospital's plan for addressing the issues, the Boston Globe reports.