When emergency departments close their doors, the patients don’t stop getting sick – they just go to other hospitals. Now that St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York is no longer taking ambulance runs, nearby hospitals are getting a surge in volumes. Bellevue Hospital is now the only level one trauma center in lower Manhattan and is temporarily asking its staff to work longer hours to handle the extra patients.
The remaining city hospitals are now asking for emergency funds to help them treat the patient surges from St. Vincents. What will happen if they don’t get funding and they close?
Hospitals nearby St. Vincents were rumored to have needed to go on “bypass” for ambulance runs due to the volumes, an allegation that is denied by the hospitals. Transport times for ambulances increase from less than five minutes to St. Vincents to nearly 20 minutes to the next closest hospitals. Paramedics believe that it is only a matter of time before there is a bad outcome due to the lack of access to care.
Austrailian emergency department waits top 8 hours for one third of all ED patients, with more than 2500 patients waiting more than 24 hours for care in the last calendar year.
Patient volumes are increasing significantly – by 43% in some cases – and funding is repeatedly lacking. Hospitals are running at 95% capacity instead of the 85% capacity goal. Now Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is pledging $500 million in extra funding … if hospitals sign onto his $50 billion health care overhaul.
Is it me or does this whole scenario sound vaguely familiar?
This iPhone app tells you when you need to go to the emergency department. Dropping your new Percocet prescription in the toilet isn’t on the list.
But … according to this article on KevinMD, if the app gives the wrong advice, the developer could be out a boatload of money. Apple requires that all developers hold Apple harmless from any lawsuits brought against Apple related to the developer’s app. That could mean some heavy duty monetary outlays for app developers. I’m betting that Apple’s lawyers aren’t cheap.
Florida emergency “rooms” – enter at your own risk. So goes the warning from the Florida trial lawyers. If Florida passes a bill extending sovereign immunity to emergency department personnel, the “financial incentives for health care providers to ensure patient safety and high quality care” would be undermined. Rrrrrright.
They’re just upset because they won’t be able to force clients to contract around this tort reform measure like they did with Florida’s cap on attorney contingency fees.
Saudi Arabia bans 16,000 out of 36,000 doctors and other health professionals from practicing medicine and considers whether or not to make medical malpractice a criminal act. The article also notes that nearly half a million Saudis have no access to health care because there are not enough hospitals. Criminalize medicine and see how many people have no access to health care because there are not enough doctors.
After catching another article linked to the article above, I’m betting that the Saudis don’t have much of a problem with illegal drug sales. Saudi officials are seeking the death penalty against a pregnant woman who sold Valium to an undercover officer in a sting operation. The prosecutor told a panel of judges that “This is a crime that poisons our country. It poisons our youth. This criminal wanted to destroy our future. We are asking for the most severe punishment, the death penalty, for this vile crime.”
$10 million verdict against ambulance service when pregnant mother it transported gives birth to child with cerebral palsy.
Man uses circular saw to trim branches from tree. Also uses running wood chipper as sawhorse. Cuts fingers off with circular saw then severed fingers fall in wood chipper. Ooops.
Woman falls in shower after tripping over basketball.
Cases like these are what make emergency medicine so interesting … sometimes.
One quarter of cardiologists order tests due to fear of lawsuits and those tests contribute to significant increases in health care spending. “We need a way for docs to be less afraid of not ordering a test,” said the study’s lead author.
In other news, psssst … defensive medicine doesn’t exist. Pass it on.
Sounds like a script for the next Indiana Jones movie. Benjamin Metanyahu decides to build a new hospital in Gaza on a site where multiple ancient pagan graves were found. Just think, if John Edwards ever travels there, he would be able to channel patients’ medical histories from dead relatives.
California’s newest attempt to fix the budget deficit. Decrease payments to hospitals so they are struggling to provide services, then fine them hundreds of thousands of dollars for safety violations such as failing to follow up with families about abnormal blood testing. Since when did that become a hospital duty?
Shrinking payments to providers. State law ban on balance billing. Hospitals closing. Remind me why anyone would want to practice medicine in California. Oh, yeah, that’s right. I forgot. They have tort reform for the past 30 years.