Case Studies

Mercy Hospital Case Study


Earlier this year, Nonin donated hospital-grade fingertip pulse oximeters to Mercy Hospital to assist in patient COVID-19 screening. This article outlines one Critical Resource Nurse’s experience working in the COVID unit at Mercy Hospital. With the increased necessity for personal protective equipment (PPE) and precautionary measures for hospital staff, fingertip pulse oximeters can add an additional protective measure to monitor patient desaturations without having to connect the patient to a tabletop monitor.


Kimberly S. is a Critical Resource Nurse (CRN) at Mercy Hospital in Minnesota. As a CRN, it is her responsibility to respond to all code blue critical patients. These patients are scattered throughout the hospital and can often be located in areas with little or no monitoring.

Kimberly details a recent shift in which a Nonin fingertip pulse oximeter was used to save hospital staff from prolonged exposure to COVID-19. “During a recent shift my pager went off. I looked down and it was another Rapid Response Team call in our COVID unit. After I donned my layers of PPE, I went into the room to find a morbidly obese patient in the bathroom. He was pallor, diaphoretic and stated that he felt like he was going to pass out. Two staff members were in the bathroom trying to support the patient, but he went unresponsive, so staff called a code blue. Due to the patient’s morbid obesity and body hiatus this turned into a complicated situation.” The patient was stuck in the small hospital room bathroom and hospital staff had limited access to reach him.

At the time he went unresponsive, they had no way to safely return him to the hospital bed without assistance from a patient lift. But Kimberly’s team acted quickly to ensure they were making timely decisions. “I then remembered that I had a portable fingertip pulse oximeter at hand, so I placed the oximeter on the patient’s finger, and quickly started receiving a reading. His saturations were in the low 80’s and his heart rate was 100-120. I told the staff to cancel the code blue, and asked for a non-rebreather, a chair sling, and a patient lift. After proper oxygenation, the patient became responsive and we were able to lift the patient back into the hospital bed safely. I was able to monitor the patient’s oxygenation and heart rate continuously throughout the situation with our donated pulse oximeter. In this situation, without the use of a portable pulse oximeter, there would have been a significant delay in attaching the patient to a wall mounted pulse oximeter.”

By measuring the patient’s blood oxygen saturation with the fingertip pulse oximeter, Kimberly and her team knew they had made the right call. “Coincidentally I was told by the staff that they were unable to get readings from the wall units due to the patient’s size. By the time another oximeter would have arrived, the entire code blue team would have shown up, donned their PPR, and entered the patient’s room exposing more staff members to COVID.”

In her follow up note to Nonin, Kimberly writes, “Thank you Nonin for the donation of portable pulse oximeters to our hospital staff, they have helped ease the workflow of RRT’s and transporting critical patients from the COVID unit to the ICU.” To learn more about Nonin’s fingertip pulse oximetry solutions, please visit:

About Nonin

For more than 30 years, Nonin Medical has designed and manufactured noninvasive patient monitoring devices for healthcare professionals and individual users. Nonin pulse oximeters, regional oximeters, capnographs, sensors, and software deliver dependable performance day after day, even in challenging environments. Our exclusive technologies are clinically proven to deliver consistent measurements for a broad range of patients and conditions.