Software Problem Blamed For Woman's Death in Minnesota

The CBS-owned TV news station WCCO in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota reported this week that a woman being moved from one nursing home to another died while being transported on the 22nd of April because of a software problem in the ambulance's onboard oxygen system.

The story says that the Red Wing Fire Department paramedics placed the woman on oxygen at the start of the trip, and that the onboard oxygen system was operating normally. However, the oxygen system apparently stopped working for a period of some eight minutes before paramedics noticed it was off. The paramedics immediately restarted the system, but by that time, the woman had died.

After the incident, the Red Wing Fire Department "exchanged all of the electrical equipment, but weeks later the same thing happened with the new equipment," the WCCO story reports.

An independent investigation pointed to a software problem with the ambulance's oxygen system.

The fire department is now using portable oxygen until a fix from the ambulance company - Road Rescue - is provided. According to this other WCCO story, Road Rescue says a fix is imminent.


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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City