ER overcrowding may increase harm to patients, study finds

Friday December 14, 2012

It seems fairly obvious that when emergency rooms are overcrowded to the point that patients are turned away or have to wait several hours to be seen, those patients may suffer additional harm as a result of that overcrowding. Now, a study has confirmed that increased risk.

After an analysis of nearly one million emergency room visits to 187 different hospitals in 2007, researchers found that patients who were turned away from emergency rooms had a greater risk of death than patients who were admitted to the hospital at a less-busy time. In addition, those patients tend to stay at the hospital for a longer period of time and pay more for their medical treatment.

In sum, less than 25 percent of the days on which the ER visits took place were so busy that ambulances carrying patients had to be diverted to other medical centers. Those diversions lasted for a median of seven hours.

Specifically, researchers found that diverted patients had a 5 percent higher likelihood of dying in the hospital, a 0.8 percent longer length of hospital stay and 1 percent increased medical costs.

However, the researchers state that the results of their research may not be completely accurate. This, they say, is because some hospitals request that ambulances be diverted only in very rare situations, and the results may not, therefore, reflect the real harm experienced by individual patients. As such, the researchers believe that the negative effects of emergency room crowding may actually be more severe than the estimates they reported in their report.

Source: MedPage Today, “Crowded EDs May Be Serious Health Hazard,” Crystal Phend, Dec. 12, 2012

Get in Touch

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation

At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, L.L.C., we handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not get paid unless and until you receive a settlement or a jury award.

Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a skilled Connecticut personal injury lawyer today.

News & insights
Medical Misdiagnosis: What Is It and How To Handle It
News

Medical Misdiagnosis: What Is It and How To Handle It

11

June
2022

The Role of Lack of Informed Consent in Medical Malpractice
Articles

The Role of Lack of Informed Consent in Medical Malpractice

11

June
2022

How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Articles

How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

10

June
2022

Connecticut Auto Accident Laws to Be Aware Of
Articles

Connecticut Auto Accident Laws to Be Aware Of

9

June
2022

How Liability Is Determined for Defective Products
Articles

How Liability Is Determined for Defective Products

26

May
2022

The Most Common Personal Injury Cases
Articles

The Most Common Personal Injury Cases

24

May
2022

How a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Articles

How a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help You

22

May
2022

The Most Common Surgical Errors
Articles

The Most Common Surgical Errors

20

May
2022

How Medication Errors Can Lead to Lawsuits
Articles

How Medication Errors Can Lead to Lawsuits

18

May
2022

When Should You Hire a Lawyer for a Hit and Run Accident?
News

When Should You Hire a Lawyer for a Hit and Run Accident?

16

May
2022