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“Patient alarms often unheard, unheeded” states a recent headline in the Boston Globe. Now the Joint Commission and the FDA are going to target “alarm fatigue” as a patient safety priority. Apparently it is not a very high priority as the article describing the effort states that the two organizations will be meeting “over the next few months” to “pinpoint a strategy.”

My question is, where has everyone been? This issue has been apparent for years to anyone who has ever worked in an intensive care unit. Walk into any ICU and within 30 seconds, you will hear an alarm sound its annoying bleat and see the staff going about their business without a second thought.

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