Having just been in the ED for 6 hours with a friend, I witnessed firsthand the secondhand, substandard grade the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has given to the state of emergency care in the U.S.
The care I witnessed wasn’t deplorable, but it wasn’t inspiring either. The staff’s empathy for a grieving family was hit and miss. The orthopedic resident’s technical ability as well as her interpersonal skills and judgment left a lot to be desired. And the hygiene of the department – well what can I say? It was as much of a hygiene risk as my 4-year-old godson’s preschool playground full of little Ebola viruses.
ACEP reported in a Report Card on the State of Emergency Medicine that the “Economic woes and a failing health care system mean more people than ever before are relying on emergency care at a time when the nation is receiving a substandard C- grade for its support of emergency patients.” Dr. Nicholas Jouriles, president of ACEP said, “Policymakers can no longer remain oblivious to what is happening in emergency departments.” He called on President-elect Obama to make emergency care a top priority in health care reform proposals.
Dr. Angela Gardner, ACEP’s president-elect, said “The emergency care system is a ticking time bomb… a failing health care system means more people than ever before will be relying on emergency care meanwhile, every minute of every day in this country people need emergency medical care, and that need is growing as our population ages and lives longer.”
Emergency care is becoming primary care – it’s the frontline of medicine, and America’s losing the battle. This substandard care will increase the number of medical malpractice emergency cases and increase the demand for Certified Legal Nurse Consultants on emergency care issues.
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