Approximately 20 percent of Americans visited an emergency room (ER) in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There were a total of 130 million visits to ERs in 2011, a 33-million visit increase from 1995. Despite the rise in need, 11 percent of the nation's emergency departments were eliminated during that same period.
Emergency rooms have long been infamous for lengthy waits, even when the patient's medical condition is serious. It's curious that hospitals have slashed their emergency departments while demand has increased.
This cost-cutting measure causes many serious problems including:
- Excessive delays in diagnosis and treatment
- Worsened outcomes
- Understaffing that overwhelms physicians and nurses, making them more error-prone
Being an ER physician is no easy task, so why are hospitals making the environment more troubling? Sadly, it's all about profitability.
If the emergency department isn't making the hospital enough money, it will invest its resources elsewhere - even when there's still a need for it. Good physicians try their best, but it's an environment that induces diagnosis errors and compromises the patient's outlook.
If you or a loved one has been seriously harmed in an ER, an experienced emergency room errors attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options for recourse.
McKeen & Associates, PC, is a civil justice law firm with a focus on medical malpractice. Based in Detroit, Michigan, we represent injured patients across the country who need the assistance of experienced and accomplished medical malpractice attorneys.
Source: MedPage Today, "As 'Emergency' Doors Close More Seek Care," Nancy Walsh, May 30, 2013