Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety: Memorial Hospital Makes a Promise to Amanda to Continuously Electronically Monitor Opioid Patients with Capnography

Apr 30, 2013, 09:30 ET from Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety

CHICAGO, April 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- NBC-affiliate WNDU recently reported that Memorial Hospital of South Bend in Indiana has fulfilled A Promise to Amanda.  Starting this month, every patient who receives opioids or sedation on every floor at Memorial Hospital will be continuously electronically monitored with capnography.

Eighteen-year-old Amanda Abbiehl tragically died in 2010 when connected to a patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump to manage her pain. Since then, Amanda's parents, Brian and Cindy, have advocated that patients using PCA pain pumps are monitored with capnography through the Promise to Amanda Foundation, a foundation focused on monitoring CO2. Brian and Cindy have been calling on all hospitals to make a Promise to Amanda by implementing continuous electronic monitoring for every patient on a pain pump.

"Monitoring patients for how much carbon dioxide they are breathing out with capnography provides us with the earliest possible indicator to detect the onset of opioid-induced respiratory depression," says Dr. Cheryl Wibbens, Chief Medical Officer at Memorial Hospital. "Together with Elkhart General Hospital, Memorial is pleased to provide this level of protection for our patients receiving opioids."

The Promise to Amanda Foundation applauds Memorial Hospital of South Bend for doing their part in preventing patient deaths associated with pain pumps at its facility. Amanda's parents, Brian and Cindy Abbiehl, say, "On the day our daughter passed away, we made Amanda a promise that we would help make sure this did not happen to another person. Our daughter passed away and we believe that had she been on a CO2 monitor her caregivers would have been alerted and she may still be with us today. We would like to thank Memorial Hospital for helping to fulfill this promise to Amanda."

As Dr. Wibbens further explains, "Every patient at Memorial that has opioids is a little safer now. Continuously electronically monitoring with capnography will save lives."

"The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety has been working with A Promise to Amanda Foundation ever since we were invited by the University of Notre Dame to speak to their students, " says Michael Wong (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety). "We are extremely pleased that Memorial Hospital has answered the call for increased patient safety and the need to continuously electronically monitor with capnography all of their patients receiving opioids."

The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety encourages all healthcare professionals to join Memorial Hospital in making a Promise to Amanda to achieve zero preventable deaths.

As Dr. Peter Pronovost (PhD, FCCM, Professor, Departments of Anesthesiology/Critical Care Medicine and Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Medical Director, Center for Innovation in Quality Patient) said recently on the Katie Couric Show on "Shocking Medical Mistakes":

Frame the size of your problem. I suspect that all of your viewers either have been touched by or a family member has been harmed by mistakes. It is the third leading cause of death in this country. More people die from medical mistakes each year than died per year in the civil war.

To view the WNDU news coverage, please click here.


The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) is an advocacy group devoted to improving patient health and safety. PPAHS supporters include physicians, patients, individuals, and organizations.

PPAHS recently released a concise checklist that reminds caregivers of the essential steps needed to be taken to initiate Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA) with a patient and to continue to assess that patient's use of PCA. For more information and to download the PCA safety checklist, please visit

SOURCE Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety