Thursday, November 12, 2009

ER crowds can keep you waiting

With H1N1 making news, with seasonal flu coming to an ER near you soon, this story about ER crowds and longer waits from ABC News makes sense - unfortunately:
Wait time for the very sickest patients, those would die without being treated promptly (for example, someone whose heart had stopped or who wasn't breathing) was not affected by crowding. But patients who were in the next tier down, for example someone with chest pain or signs of stroke, did have to wait longer in crowded conditions.
In my own experience and observation, people who arrive via ambulance get shorter wait time - even more evidence that if you're wise, you'll call 911 if you or someone near you is showing stroke symptoms. Life, or lifelong disability, could hang in the balance.

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