Massachusetts ‘Alarm Fatigue’ Lawsuit Settled

November 29, 2011

The family of an 89-year-old man who died at Massachusetts General Hospital when nurses did not respond to alarms on his cardiac monitor has settled its case against the hospital for $850,000.

The Boston Globe reported on Monday that the hospital and the man’s family reached an agreement in May, but the private settlement was never filed in court and the parties have not discussed it publicly until now.

A lawyer for the family says Mass. General recognized the error and tried to do the right thing for the family. He says the hospital is addressing the issue of “alarm fatigue,” when hospital staff tune out frequent alarms.

The malpractice insurer for Harvard teaching hospitals reached the settlement on behalf of Mass. General and the doctors and nurses involved.

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