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Faulty medicine pumps allow excessive medication by patients. Hospital is being investigated in California.

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Suzanne Leslie
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The California Nurses Association has filed charges with state regulators alleging use of faulty narcotic pain pumps. At least 5 patients have received accidental overdoses at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center in Orange County. To date, no patients have had lasting injuries or have died, but this unjustified at a facility such as this one.
The pump in question is a Curlin infusion model. It allows patients to regulate how much painkiller is intravenously administered by the push of a button. Typically this type of treatment is common after an accident or surgery.

The medical center admits there was a problem but says they have replaced or are phasing out all of the faulty pumps. The chief nursing officer wrote to her staff, “Our current pumps do not have software that is now available to protect patients from an error that would expose them to high levels of narcotics and potentially compromise their respiratory status. We know this and are rapidly moving forward with smart pump technology to provide you and our patients another level of protection. In the meantime, you are the last level of protection”.

Should a patient depend upon a busy nurse for their “last level of protection”? I believe a world class hospital facility should provide medical equipment that functions normally.

In May the state Department of Health fined the medical center $50,000 for two violations; in one of those cases the negligence resulted in death. Regulators are currently investigating these new claims.

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