Chicago Personal Injury Attorney Reminds Hospital Patients, Families to be Proactive Members of Medical Team

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Patrick A. Salvi of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., says a Boston Globe report of deaths linked to hospitals’ ‘alarm fatigue’ indicates the need to understand how to assist busy medical staffs.

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Illinois medical malpractice lawyer Patrick A. Salvi

We do not excuse the lack of response to an alarm, but we do remind hospital patients and their families that they must consider themselves part of the medical team, working to get the patient well.

Illinois personal injury lawyer Patrick A. Salvi said today that a recent report of overburdened hospital staffs experiencing “alarm fatigue” underscores the need for individuals to be proactive in advocating for themselves or their loved ones in hospitals.

An investigation by the Boston Globe found that more than 200 hospital patients across the country died between January 2005 and June 2010 when medical personnel didn’t react promptly to alarms on patient monitors tracking such vital signs as heart function and breathing.

The Globe said “alarm fatigue” has set in because, as the use of monitors has risen, their beeps have become relentless. False alarms are so numerous that nurses have become desensitized to the sounds that signal a critical need for attention, the newspaper said.

“We do not excuse the lack of response to an alarm, but we do remind hospital patients and their families that they must consider themselves part of the medical team, working to get the patient well,” said Salvi, managing equity partner with Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., a leading Illinois medical malpractice law firm with offices in Cook and Lake counties.

“There are vitally important non-medical steps anyone can and should take to contribute to a patient’s care.”

Salvi said hospital patients and their family members should ask doctors and nurses what the monitors hooked up to patients are being used for, what an alarm means and what they should do if an alarm sounds and no help arrives.

“You absolutely have to be a proactive participant in your medical care,” said Salvi, whose firm has recovered millions of dollars for hospital patients and their families because of injuries caused by hospital negligence and other medical errors.

Salvi pointed out that the Globe’s report also uncovered deaths attributed to errors by hospital personnel. Deaths were attributed to mistakes in programming monitors, a failure to turn on monitors or a conscious decision to ignore alarms.

“Anyone who had to wait too long for help in a hospital, particularly as a monitor’s alarm sounded, or who otherwise feels as though the response to their needs was inadequate and caused harm should seek a qualified legal opinion about it,” Salvi said. “Claiming to have too many patients is not a valid excuse.

“We at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard will respond to your needs, and we will stand with you,” he said.

About Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. is a leading Illinois medical malpractice law firm with offices in Chicago and Waukegan. The firm represents clients in matters involving emergency room errors, failure to diagnose, hospital negligence, physician error, birth injuries, surgical malpractice, anesthesia errors, organ puncture/perforation, post-operative and pre-operation malpractice and surgical complications. The firm’s success in medical negligence, personal injury and wrongful death cases features recovering more than $585 million on behalf of its clients, including more than 160 multi-million dollar verdicts or settlements. To learn more about Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., call (847) 249-1227 or use the firm’s online form.

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