Emergency Room Waits Lengthen
According to reports, patients are waiting longer in today’s waiting rooms than ever before, which could be resulting in a shrinking number of emergency departments.
The new findings, revealed to researchers from Harvard Medical School, also could mean a rise in demand for emergency services.
Researchers found that half of all emergency patients waited at least 30 minutes before being examined in 2004.
There was also a 36 percent increase in waiting time in 1997.
“We all may need to use the emergency department at one time or another, and it’s important for us to be able to rely on it if we need care,” explains Andrew Wilper, the lead author of the study and a physician at Cambridge Health Alliance. “The numbers show that the emergency care system in the U.S. is on the ropes.”
State of Emergency in the U.S.
The study found that even those experiencing a heart attack are not always helped right away with half of the patients waiting up to 20 minutes to be helped in 2004.
The same was reportedly true for those with other serious health problems.
Reports issued in 2006 by the Institute of Medicine, found the medical system in the U.S. to be “overburdened, underfunded and highly fragmented.”
“Ever-lengthening waits are a frightening trend because any delays in care can make the difference between life and death for some patients,” explained Linda Lawrence, the president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.
(Source: Washington Post)
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