Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Emergency department homicide???

A patient’s death in a Lake County Illinois emergency room was recently ruled a homicide by a coroner’s jury, finding “gross deviations from the standard of care” which prolonged the patient’s wait time. If a death related to ER wait time is a homicide then how many other undocumented emergency department homicides are occurring on a regular basis? Quite a few, perhaps, according to this study from the Medical Journal of Australia. The death rate went up 20% per hour of wait time in this study, independent of diagnosis or urgency of the patient’s presentation.

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