Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself

Great column from the New York Times that echoes many of the sentiments shared by those working in an ER...

"But even people who have a personal physician are inclined to go to the emergency room when they have a bad sore throat or a persistent cough and are unable to reach their own doctor."

"Thus, you will not necessarily be taken in the order of arrival and you might have to wait a long time — even hours — to be seen by a doctor if your condition is not deemed serious by the triage nurse."

New funding for community health centers "to provide treatment - and, one would hope, preventive care" to patients who currently rely on the ER as their primary access to care.

The article goes on to list several conditions which should lead patients to seek emergency care, and includes a discussion of what to bring - and what to leave behind - when visiting the ER.

None of us in the ER enjoy a full waiting room, and if there were an infinite number of spots available in the department, we would bring everyone back right away. We do the best we can with limited resources, and until there are significant improvements made to the primary care infrastructure, long ER wait times will remain an unpleasant reality.


Rosa said...

My mom once took me to the ER when I had a nosebleed that hadn't stopped in half an hour. And of course it slowed down five minutes after we checked in.

Second Shift said...

If you think it's an emergency... come! That's what the ER is for. It's just not designed for primary care, which ends up being a lot of what we do. If you don't have a regular doctor, or can't get an appointment, it makes perfect sense to go to a place that is open 24/7 and will treat whatever you come in with. But the result of not having enough PCPs is long wait times.