Report says U.S. ERs in crisis

Jun 15, 2006

The Institute of Medicine in Washington says the U.S. emergency care system is fragmented and severely compromised in its ability to handle disasters.

The Washington Post cited three reports issued by the institute after an extensive two-year study of the problem.

The study's experts said the U.S. emergency care system lacks stability and the capacity to respond to large disasters or epidemics. They say it would cost billions to resolve the problems and require the leadership of a new federal agency, which must be set up in the next two years.

Dr. Rick Blum, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said reports show only a tiny fraction of federal funding for emergency preparedness since Sept. 11, 2001, has been spent on medical preparedness and the situation is exacerbated by a declining number of emergency rooms.

"Congress must convene a hearing on the state of emergency medicine in this country and dedicate funding to the emergency care system to support disaster preparedness," said Blum. "Hospitals must be reimbursed for the significant amounts of uncompensated emergency and trauma care they provide."

However, Blum also said hospitals must end the practice of boarding patients in emergency departments. The situation is so serious overcrowded ERs often are unable to provide the expertise needed to treat seriously ill people in a safe and efficient manner.

The analysis found ambulances in some instances wait for hours to unload patients and once in some patients have to wait two days for a hospital bed.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Team isolates environmental influences in genome-wide association studies

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sentinel-1 poised to monitor motion

29 minutes ago

Although it was only launched a few months ago and is still being commissioned, the new Sentinel-1A radar satellite has already shown that it can be used to generate 3D models of Earth's surface and will ...

Time Warner Cable says outages largely resolved

40 minutes ago

Time Warner Cable said Wednesday service was largely restored after a problem that occurred during routine maintenance caused a nationwide outage of its Internet service for hours.

The devastating spread of the mountain pine beetle

44 minutes ago

When the mountain pine beetle began blazing a path across forests in British Columbia and Alberta, nobody could have imagined the extent of the damage to come. But as the insect devastated pine forests and ...

Recommended for you

Drug represents first potential treatment for common anemia

10 minutes ago

An experimental drug designed to help regulate the blood's iron supply shows promise as a viable first treatment for anemia of inflammation, according to results from the first human study of the treatment published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society o ...

Taking aim at added sugars to improve Americans' health

14 minutes ago

Now that health advocates' campaigns against trans-fats have largely succeeded in sidelining the use of the additive, they're taking aim at sugar for its potential contributions to Americans' health conditions. But scientists ...

Fear, safety and the role of sleep in human PTSD

21 minutes ago

The effectiveness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment may hinge significantly upon sleep quality, report researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans ...

User comments : 0