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back to article German teen unplugs pensioner's 'noisy' life support machine

Police in Southern Germany are quizzing a 17-year-old car crash victim who turned off a fellow hospital patient's life-support machine because it was keeping him awake. Frederik Moelner wound up in intensive care recovering from the accident, reports Ananova, but his attempts to have a bit of recuperative kip were stymied by …

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Urban Legend

Sounds like a variation of the old "Cleaning Lady Unplugs ICU Machines" legend.

In this version of the story, staff were alerted in time, which could mean that it is actually true, or it could mean that the tale-fabricator is just more sophisticated than the usual tall-tale-teller.

(Life support machines would surely have battery-powered alarms that sound off if power is interrupted, which is why the original legend is clearly male bovine excrement.)

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What about The Most Expensive Machine In The Hospital

However, what an idiot.. hope he gets the book thrown at him

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Machine that goes PING

I think you'll find it's the machine that goes PING! The machine that goes bing was a complete waste of time. :-)

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Silver badge

Not really life threatening...

As all critical systems have battery backup and go PING PING PING when unplugged (further reducing the 17 year olds chance of sleep).

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Silver badge

Deja Vu

Schlafenraum this time: Lebensraum next time...

You gotta watch 'em, you know...

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Anonymous Coward

I can see it now...

...and then the kid would have blamed it all on an evil Egyptian Mummy bent on feasting on the souls of eldery patients.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm.

If the teenager was well enough to get out of bed and unplug it, why was he in intensive care?

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Battery backup

Given that medical staff 'quickly realised' it might be assumed that the machine did give a frenzied beeping when the main power was cut.

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Anonymous Coward

So much for complaints about the NHS

What the hell is somone on Life support doing on the same ward as someone who can clearly walk around? The kid should have complaind rather than doing that, but I can quight imagin it would be very tempting if you didnt know what the machien was doing (Especaly if it was very late at night).

Sounds like a fake story to me. It would be very unfair having someone with a Machien wering away in the same ward as other people. Sleep is important when recovering from an injury. And anyway, life suport machiens dont bleep. Harte monitors do (or did) they tend to just make a woshing sound as air is moved through the machien to keep the lungs going.

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I know it sounds just like the urban legend referred to earlier

but in my first job I really did have a problem with a server that crashed at around 5pm every Friday, which turned out to be when the cleaner came in and unplugged it to plug in the vacuum cleaner. Mind you, it didn't need a UPS with alarm to resolve, just a sticky note on the plug asking that another socket was used.

Mind you, this was the same client who called in a fault with a printer not working when it had been unplugged and they hadn't thought to check...

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that this was a social service...

might be the response of some thinkers here in Germany. decreasing the strain to the pensions system by offing an eldery citizen. Here it is called "sozialvertraegliches fruehableben" [ social system coherent and beneficial early permanent retirement ]

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Anonymous Coward

Urban legend?

Urban legend or not, there'd be a lot more plausibility in this article if there was a link back to a plausible source - how difficult can that be?

It does seem likely that important machines would have battery backup and mains failure alarms. Having been a visitor to Basingstoke hospital a couple of years ago when both local mains and hospital standby failed, leaving the hospital largely powerless, there was chaos, but only chaos, not complete panic, presumably because many critical machines had their own local power.

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Anonymous Coward

Nova Scotia

Ananova seems to have a track record with this kind of unsourced "funny old world" story. (insert examples here) I take everything the site reports with a pinch of salt (insert more examples). The site tends to report stories from European sources, with one or two surnames and a place, but no other details, e.g. the one about the pensioner killing a crazed squirrel, the Ukranian woman smuggling drugs in a vibrator, the unnamed 102-year-old man from nowheresville who has taken out a twenty-year mortgage, etc.

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5 minutes to shutdown....

Hmm, UPSs often only give enough power to allow you to perform an orderly shutdown.

In ICU, this is presumably enough time to go amongst the patients giving doses of morphine....

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Its the planet

Maybe he saw a large machine wasting electricity keeping some rotting flesh warm and decided he'd do his bit for the environment and turn it off, global warming is a serious issue and must be tackled what ever the cost :)

Yes its a sick tongue in cheek joke but i don't really care :)

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Anonymous Coward

The selfish german

As someone who has on recent occasion, had to spend time in a hospital, this scare's the hell out of me. Intensive care is there for those who have a chance of recovery for serious injury or surgery in isolation (The stink of piss is reduced, and the chances of being anywhere near a nut-job is nil).

Having also spent time in an ICU ward, I can tell you that all the important machinery is linked to a switchboard in the nurses area, so it can all be monitored. After waking up from a rather intensive round of surgery, I accidentally ripped of the monitoring cords on my chest. The rather eager junior doctor was going to fry me with the paddles, until the head nurse calmed him down, and re-attached the cords.

Back to the german brat, his punishment should be sevear and fitting... having the honour of mucking out the sewers in the city. Millions of tons of germans, making millions of tons of shite, millions of gallons of piss, and thats before the octoberfest begins. His tools: A toothbrush, a wallpaper scraper, a pair of overalls, and a bag to be sick in (German thinking).

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Anonymous Coward

Ping machines

Having been in hospital recently, and lived with a ping machine, I can assure you they are only there to remind you are in hospital, and are not supposed to be enjoying the morphine bag.

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Anonymous Coward

Probably nurses fault...

Around here, machines only really are annoying when they are disconnected -- they ping repeatedly to annoy the nurse. But nurses are wise to that, and leave them pinging and disconnected until they have nothing better to do because

(a) they know which patients are sick and which can be left anyway, and

(b) some patients always loose the connection, because of the way they lay, their size, and the position of the connections.

Obviously, the German kid was lying next to a pinging, disconnected life support monitor, and the nurses were doing nothing about it. And they got very angry with him, not just because he didn't lie down and shut up, but also because his action was an implicit criticism of their lack of action.

Or maybe that's only the nurses in Oz.

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Re: 5 minutes to shutdown....

Joel, while your comment was funny, I will point out that hospitals (at least here in Australia) have large generators. If the power goes out for too long for the batteries to last, the generator would certainly cover it.

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Rascal...

The little wascal has spiwit...

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Anonymous Coward

Google is your friend

This happened (unless I stumbled over a new onion style site).

http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7007688838

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Re: Re: 5 minutes to shutdown...

Tim, while that is correct, the machinery in question was disconnected from the mains grid, thus also taking it out of the loop of any back-up power systems.

On the other hand, I know from experience that a heart monitor can go for several hours on its battery, as a patient with a heart monitor could disconnect said monitor from the mains and go into the cafeteria with it to have lunch. (Do note, said patient was not in ICU).

Similarly, IV pumps can go for hours on end with just their batteries. Breathing machines and heart-lung pumps, on the other hand, use quite some power and in addition are not designed to operate disconnected, they would likely only last for a short while to allow back-up power to kick in.

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Anonymous Coward

Power was cut?

>> Given that medical staff 'quickly realised' it might be assumed that the machine did give a frenzied beeping when the main power was cut.

It says in the article that the machine was turned off, not that the power was cut. If the machine loses external power, then you would expect an alarm - however if the machine is simply turned off then the would be no reason for an alarm.

Question really should be what protects are there against the machine being unplugged or turned off by unauthorised persons?

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re: the machine that goes bing was a complete waste of time

not nearly as much of a waste as the machine that goes Bling! :)

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