Ventilator errors are linked to 119 deaths
Warnings are often ignored, missed by overtaxed caregivers
Hundreds of patients who depend on ventilators to breathe have died or suffered injuries when caregivers failed to respond to alarms warning of a problem - or had set alarms improperly so they did not sound at all. An analysis of federal safety reports by the Globe shows that at least 119 people died nationwide between 2005 and May 2011 because of such alarm-related problems. And a separate review by the FDA uncovered about 800 alarm-related adverse event reports in 2010 alone. Many resulted in injuries or deaths.