Alarming Report On Overcrowding in ER’s

The following may lead to more unfortunate medical malpractice cases stemming from over-extended doctors and their lack of sufficient hospital resources.  This story comes courtesy of msn.com:

WEDNESDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. emergency medical system is in critical condition and on life support — overburdened, under-funded, and highly fragmented, according to three new reports released Wednesday by the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

According to the reports, ambulances are being turned away from emergency departments and patients can wait hours or even days for a hospital bed. And, as it stands, the system is currently unprepared to handle overloads of patients from disasters such as hurricanes, bombings, or disease outbreaks, the authors contended.

"These reports reinforce something we have known for a long time," said one expert, Dr. Rick Blum, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. "The challenges facing emergency medicine are reimbursement, overcrowding, ambulance diversion and lack of on-call specialists."

Gail Warden, chairman of the IOM’s Hospital-Based Emergency Care Committee that did the reports, noted that "there has not been an in-depth study of emergency medicine done in 40 years."

His team’s report finds the U.S. system in a precarious state. "Emergency rooms, in most cases, are overcrowded with long waits for patients to be admitted," Warden said. "Ambulances are frequently diverted to another hospital, because the primary one is overflowing. There is a lack of specialists to provide care in many emergency rooms. The transport of ambulances to emergency medical services is often fragmented, disorganized and inconsistent. In many cases, pediatric care falls short because emergency rooms are not prepared to care for children in the way that they should be."

To help solve these problems, Congress needs to earmark money to insure that emergency departments, trauma centers and medical first responders are fully equipped and ready to deliver fast and appropriate care, the IOM reports concluded.