A Tale of Marriage, Medicine and Murder

What does 'telemetry' mean?

Find out what telemetry means. Telemetry is explained by Margaret McMillion - author of PERSONAL BAGGAGE


Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defines Telemetry as “The making of measurements at a distance from the subject, the measurable evidence…being transmitted by radio signals.”
In the hospital a telemetry patient wears, stuck to his chest, electrodes which connect by wires (leads) to a small device powered by a 9 volt battery enclosed in a box. The telemetry box is usually placed in a pouch with ties that go around the patient’s neck and support the box as it lies against the patient’s chest.

Radio signals from the device are picked up by antennae mounted on the ceiling of the hospital and transmitted to monitors in CCU. (Some hospitals now have monitors in the patient rooms also.) The screens of monitors give a visual representation of the electrical activity of the heart, like an EKG read-out, and have alarms set to notify hospital personnel of changes in heart pattern or rate. These alarms are also triggered by patient movement or by a visitor bumping into a patient’s bed.

In PERSONAL BAGGAGE on page 93 the nursing supervisor explains to a new nurse exactly who is responsible for care of telemetry monitors in the Dixiana hospital.

On page 97 Penny realizes that someone labeled one of the telemetry screens in CCU with the wrong patient’s name and room number.

Search result for 'telemetry' in PERSONAL BAGGAGE

Chapter 3: Chapter Three
"...surveyed her home-away-from-home, which appeared smaller than it actually was because of its flowery wallpaper. The room contained eight beds separated by green curtains and arranged around a central desk, above which monitor screens traced the electrical activity of CCU patients’ hearts as well as those of the telemetry patients on South Hall. At the back of the Unit, a locked door, which opened to the ambulance loading zone, was used as an entrance by doctors, each of whom had a key. ..."
"... Eager as babysitters to relinquish their charges when the parents return, two night nurses gave Report on the five in CCU and the six on telemetry, patients they had monitored since 7 p.m. yesterday. Leaving the cramped cubicle, the tired nurses hurried out the door, headed for home and bed. ..."
"...Maureen moved from bed to bed straightening the covers and asking the patients if they needed anything. She leaned over Penny and ran the second print-outs from each of the telemetry monitors. “It’s time for visitors and it’s my turn to post these strips at South Station, unless you need to escape.” ..."
"...results from tests he had ordered the day before would be completed and in his charts. However, one X-ray report was missing. He sighed and ripped open an alcohol swab to decontaminate his stethoscope while Penny phoned the radiologist to retrieve the results. Alarms from the telemetry monitors and the ringing telephone pushed him over the edge and he jumped up, slamming the metal chart down on the desk. ..."

Chapter 4: Chapter Four
"... She helped Dr. Scales’s tobacco-chewing patient into a wheelchair, loaded up his belongings, and rolled him out to a room on South Hall. Following Maureen’s example, Penny opened the door for visitors and called the X-ray results to Dr. Lawrence, who ordered his patient moved to a telemetry bed. By mid-afternoon only Dr. Ghent’s two patients remained in the Unit. ..."

Chapter 5: Chapter Five
"...Maureen laid down the telemetry strip she was interpreting and looked at Penny. “You know you’re pretty, don’t you? I’m giving you a compliment–-all you need to say is thank you.... And I’ll tell you something else: I used to think you were stuck up because you don’t talk much.” ..."
" long. When he asked if his wife could sit in a chair beside the bed, Penny showed him how to help manage the tubes and wires, and they settled her into a recliner. Penny served Mrs. Chumley’s lunch and had just picked up the stack of telemetry strips when the phone rang. ..."
"...Maureen was working on the stack of telemetry rhythm strips, interpreting them in preparation for taping them onto sheets in the charts at South Station, when Penny slumped into the chair beside her and began to sort through Mrs. Spoonhouse’s dismantled chart, looking for the nurses’ notes. “What do you suppose Dr. Scales told that family?” ..."

Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
"... died.” Penny watched her boss for a reaction. Mrs. Gwen’s expression was stony, her eyes unreadable, and she changed the subject. “Penny, did they tell you in Report about the telemetry patient in 304 with a toxic digoxin level?” Deciding that her boss didn’t want to talk about ..."
"...Penny touched the monitor screen with a finger. “Her pattern has been fine so far, but I’ll watch her. She’s on telemetry number two.” Penny showed Flossie Mae. “We have four on telemetry today; you can see the patient’s name, room number, and doctor’s name on the label above each screen.” ..."
"...“Flossie Mae,” Mrs. Gwen added, “telemetry patients are cared for by South Station nurses, but Unit nurses are responsible for their monitors: replacing batteries, electrodes, and lead wires as needed to maintain a readable pattern on their screens. Call me if you need anything, Penny—I’m supervising today.” ..."
"... signs. Soon a nurse called back with a good report: normal vital signs and an alert patient without complaints of discomfort. The patient on telemetry number two was having a few irregular beats, as would be expected with an elevated digoxin level but not enough to set off an alarm. After ..."
"... the morning.” A South Station nurse brought the telemetry she had removed from Mr. Tribble, who was now connected to a portable monitor for transfer, and laid the box on the desk because Penny was phoning Dr. Scales’s order to the Pharmacist: “Vitamin K, 2.5 mgs IV.” Penny replaced ..."
"... block?” The monitor she had just turned off—number three–-was labeled with the name Bridget Sasser, Room 301. She picked up the telemetry unit the nurse had brought in: number three. If number three had been Jerry Tribble, maybe number four was really Bridget Sasser. Panic-stricken ..."
"... was out, then the heart pattern picked up again and the phone rang. “Is that better?” the floor nurse asked. “Yes, thank you. What is the number on the telemetry box?” “Number four.” “And you’re in room 301 with Dr. Lawrence’s patient, Mrs. Sasser?” “Yes, why?” The ..."

Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
"...A nursing tech had come to help clean up from the code and night shift would be here soon. There was no time to think. Someone had laid telemetry unit number four on the desk and turned off the monitor. Penny removed the battery and put it away. Feeling fragmented, scattered as a shipwrecked boat thrown onto a rocky shore, she walked to the bedside of her remaining patient who had slept through everything, and whose ..."
"...After giving Report on the CCU patient and two telemetry patients, Penny dismantled Mr. Aceworth’s chart. She taped the defibrillator print-outs in correct sequence onto a sheet, and completed the code form describing the occurrence and the measures taken. Night shift would close out the nurses’ notes after the funeral home picked up the body. She ..."
"... she heard a miserable “Hello.” “Maureen, I’m sorry you’re sick, but I need to tell you something! Today was awful—I sent the wrong telemetry patient to Jacksonville for a pacer, and I gave Vitamin K IV to Dr. Scales’s patient and he died.” There was silence on the line before ..."
"... the event, ending with Scales’s evil wink. “It was his time,” Maureen said. “Haven’t I told you that? When somebody’s time comes, there’s nothing anybody can do to keep him here.... Tell me about the telemetry patient.” “The labels were wrong. I told Dr. Scales his ..."
"...“You did right. They probably both need pacemakers or they wouldn’t have been on telemetry, and you know they don’t take our word for anything up there. They won’t put a pacer in unless a person needs one, and don’t worry about the strips. Dr. Scales and Dr. Lawrence use different cardiologists for their consults.” ..."
"... around the empty Unit. “Thanks for covering for me.” “No problem; I was awake when Mrs. Gwen called and I can use easy overtime. They had already moved Dr. Lawrence’s stroke patient out to telemetry before I got here.” Penny flopped into a chair. “I’d like to go on home if ..."
"...Johnny slowed his pace and listened to Penny’s account of her telemetry mistake and the death of Dr. Scales’s patient. He asked questions, then summarized the facts to be sure he understood. “Nobody’s perfect,” he said. “You know that, don’t you? Everybody makes mistakes, but it doesn’t sound to me like any of that was your fault.” ..."

Chapter 16: Chapter Sixteen
"... if she should be on the way to Roanoke. Drinking coffee in the comforting familiarity of the break room, she consulted today’s staffing schedule. She would work by herself, with one patient in the Critical Care Unit and three on telemetry. Last night’s nurse poured a cup of coffee, ..."

Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen
"...The sleepy nurse yawned. “When I turned him to his left side at four, he quit breathing—today should be a picnic for you. There’s only one on telemetry, and Mr. Head’s waiting for Gabriel. You might have trouble with his sister, though: she looks like she might go hysterical at the end. They’re both older than stone—she’s so old her blood type’s probably discontinued! ..."
"... transfers from the floor.... Everybody asks about you, Maureen. Come back as soon as you can.” Penny interpreted this morning’s lone telemetry strip, then moved to reposition Mr. Head. “You can push me back to the TV now,” Jane said. “I’m finished breakfast.” Penny phoned ..."

Chapter 20: Chapter Twenty
"... tonight.” On Sunday morning, Penny drove on slick streets to the Dixiana hospital anticipating an easy day. She moved Mr. Garrett to a telemetry bed on the hall before lunch, then listened for the telemetry alarms while she checked CCU’s par list against their inventory. In the ..."

"... bother Joan at all. “You’ll be fine,” Joan said, patting Penny’s arm like a mother. “Just make rounds, trouble shoot, and assign rooms. The census is low this weekend; CCU is empty and no one’s on telemetry. We’re to send heart patients on to Jacksonville.” “Is Mrs. Gwen ..."

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"Margaret McMillion’s novel intricately weaves a woman’s personal doubts and life trials into the intense and stressful operations..."

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