Air In Line.
Walk into any patient room, in any hospital, and you will view a large bag of liquid, typically saline. the bag may also be filled with Chemotherapy agents. Attached to the bag is a “Infusion Line”, which works its way to an Infusion Pump. The pump then infuses the desired medicine into the patient.
The problem is that the Saline Bag out gasses, causing small to large air bubbles to find its way down the infusion line. This is called “AIR IN LINE”. As soon as the air finds its way to the pump, the pump detects the bubbles and will ALARM, and shuts down. The Pump has now shut down and reads AIR IN LINE, alerting the nurses and clinicians.
The purpose of the Pump Shut down is to prevent air reaching the patient and causing an air embolism and possible death, in addition to the possible loss of human life or permanent injury and the associated litigation. Patient treatment costs from these errors are estimated at 5.6 billion annually in the U.S.
These ALARMS sound every hour of every day. An analysis of Alarms at the John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland revealed a total of more than 59,000 alarm conditions over a 12-day period. These annoying alarms are referred to as ALARM FATIGUE.
ALARM FATIGUE occurs when nurses become overwhelmed by the sheer number of alarm signals, which can result in alarm desensitization and in turn can lead to missed or delayed alarm alerts. It is estimated that 2 billion dollars of wasted nurse labor takes place to reset the Pump and remove the AIR IN LINE.