State of California
United States of America

I have been employed at Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch, CA for twelve years. My career in healthcare began in 2000 as an Admissions Clerk. For the past five years, I have been a Telemetry Technician. My job is to monitor all heart rhythms and many other clerical duties.

I currently monitor up to twenty-four patients during an eight hour shift. Telemetry technicians do not have a patient ratio as do nurses here in the state of California. We are in desperate need of such a ratio. Any more than 40 patients for one person to monitor is asking for life-threatening errors.

Sutter Delta Medical Center is proposing a drastic change regarding cardiac monitored patients that may lead to a delay in care and possibly even the death of a patient. Currently, there are approximately 46 beds that can handle cardiac patients who need to have their heart rhythms monitored per their physician.

These forty-six beds are being monitored by two and sometimes three telemetry technicians. One tech on 2nd floor monitors up to twelve patients on their floor and up to ten more remotely from the Outpatient Care Unit. The tech on the third floor monitors up to twenty-four patients.

The medical center is now informing us, the tele techs, that the cardiac monitoring is going centralized. Meaning; all patients that require cardiac monitoring will be done in one room with only one tele tech. Not only will this person be responsible for monitoring the usual forty-six telemetry patients, they will also be responsible to monitor another ten overflow telemetry patients that will be admitted to the first floor which is primarily a medical/surgical floor only. A total of 64 heart rhythms being watched by one person.

In 2010, an unfortunate event occurred when someone put the telemetry on "stand-by.". This patient remained “off-tele” for more than two hours. Sadly, the patient died. No one knew if the patient had any type of cardiac arrhythmia that could have alerted the nurse to take the appropriate action to save the patient’s life.

The communication between nurse and tele tech is extremely vital. Even when we work together on the same floor communication can be tricky. A nurse may be busy making it impossible for the tech to know if the patient is on the floor. The tech must stay at the monitors unless they are relieved by another tech or nurse. On several occasions in the past year, a nurse has failed to inform me that a patient has arrived on the floor. This has lead to the patient not being monitored for over one hour.

This needs to be brought to the public’s attention. They need to know that Sutter Delta Medical Center is putting the lives of its patients at risk. Other hospitals in the area have two to three telemetry techs watching their centralized telemetry at all times. I have been employed at Sutter Delta Medical Center for more than a decade. I am also a patient advocate and care deeply about their safety.

Help us create a ratio for the safety of our patients. I will do what ever it takes to protect the patients of this community where I was born and raised. I appreciate any and all help you can offer.

We, the undersigned, call on the state of California to enact a patient to Telemetry technician ratio. This ratio should not exceed forty patients per telemetry technician.

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The Introduce Telemetry Tech Patient Ratios petition to State of California was written by Phillip Dodds and is in the category Health at GoPetition.