Young Woman's Death Sheds Light on Dangers of PCA Pumps

Share
Copy

PCA Pumps Very Safe, Say Some Doctors

But Dr. Mark Schlesinger, chair of anesthesiology at Hackensack University Medical Center, said that PCA pumps are a safe way to relieve different types of pain, including pain after surgery and cancer-related pain. The problem, he said, is less a result of inadequate monitoring and more a result of medical errors.

"If things go wrong, it could be due to errors, such as loading the pump with the wrong concentration of drug, programming the pump incorrectly or even incorrect prescribing." He said he is not aware of many deaths linked to PCA pumps.

Newer pumps are safer, he said, and many are designed in ways that prevent administration of an incorrect dose.

He agreed that continuous oxygen level monitoring could add an additional layer of safety.

"It's always a great thing for patients who could have respiratory depression to have pulse oximetry to monitor oxygen concentration in the blood," he said.

And there will be signals if a patient is in trouble.

"There are telltale signs of a patient who is overnarcotized," said Overdyk. "There will be sleepiness, grogginess, snoring if the patient is sleeping and the patient may startle awake."

The Abbiehls encourage patients and their families to ask how the pumps work and what sort of monitoring is taking place.

Amanda's death was entirely preventable, they said, and they want to spare other families the grief they felt.

"Maybe if she had been on a monitor, she would still be here with us today," Brian said.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Oscar de la Renta and Oprah Winfrey attend the Costume Institute Gala Benefit to celebrate the opening of the American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 8, 2010, in New York City.
Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage/Getty Images
PHOTO: Up in Ash: Mount Sinabung Erupting
Tibt Nangin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
PHOTO: Firefighters rescue a woman who got stuck in a chimney in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Ventura County Fire Department
PHOTO: Apple Pay is demonstrated at Apple headquarters on Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo