An FDA article in the journal Nursing2009 describes problems that can arise with the use alarms on patient monitoring equipment. From 2005 through 2008, FDA received 566 reports of patient deaths related to the alarms on monitoring devices. Part of the problem is that alarms can very easily be disabled or silenced. Also, it is easy to overlook onscreen symbols indicating that an important alarm feature is not turned on or available. In many of the FDA reports, users were not familiar with how the monitoring equipment worked, or hadn't checked the monitor's alarm status.
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