Rush files suit over $18M patient monitoring system

Chicago-based Rush University Medical Center late last week filed a lawsuit over a patient monitoring system that allegedly put patient safety at risk, reports Chicago Tribune.

Here are five things to know.

1. The medical center is suing the system's creator — Telford, Penn.-based Draeger — claiming alarms intended to notify clinicians of patient issues were often unreliable or inaccurate. The false alarms caused alarm fatigue among clinicians and required them to reassure uneasy patients they were OK, "all of which limited clinicians' ability to respond to truly serious alarms for other patients," according to the suit.

2. The patient monitoring system also spontaneously erased numerous patient records, according to Rush.

"These (and other) problems endangered patients, severely disrupted Rush's operations, and caused Rush clinical, technical and engineering professionals to waste thousands of hours of time," the lawsuit reads. "But rather than effectively remediating these problems, Draeger largely, and inaccurately, blamed them on Rush."

3. No patients were harmed by the system, Rush spokesman John Pontarelli told Chicago Tribune via email Tuesday.

4. While Mr. Pontarelli said Rush does not comment on pending litigation, Draeger issued a statement Tuesday, saying patient safety is the company's top priority.

"We value our long-standing relationship with Rush University Medical Center and are committed to working through this matter with our customer," Draeger said in the statement cited by Chicago Tribune.

5. Rush spent $18 million to implement the system between 2012 and early 2016. Upon implementation, the medical center expected the monitoring system to last ten years. However, Rush said numerous issues with the system forced the medical center to replace it after five years for a cost of $30 million. The medical center is seeking compensation for the losses it incurred due to the system's issues, according to the suit.

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