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An Ambulance Ride Can Kill You Especially if it was Diverted Away from an Overcrowded Emergency Room

by The Beasley Firm  |  June 17, 2011  |  

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, an ambulance is diverted away from a hospital emergency room every 60 seconds and it may be costing patients their lives. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), patients who are having a heart attack or MI, whose ambulance was redirected to a different hospital, have a three percent higher risk of death.

Over the past few years, more and more hospitals and emergency rooms have closed their doors. In addition, more and more people do not have primary care physicians, family doctors or health insurance and patient visits to the emergency room has risen by 35%. Anyone can see that less emergency rooms and more emergency room patient visits is only going to lead to problems.

Dr. Renee Hsia, an emergency room physician at the University of California led a study that showed “for every hundred patients there are three avoidable deaths.” Dr. Hsia also indicated that there is now empirical evidence that shows that emergency room crowding affects patients in a “very real way.”

As an emergency room physician, Dr. Hsia is well aware of what it is like to work in a crowded emergency room and not be able to give the patients the attention they may need and some patients are dying because of it. Her study, the largest so far regarding the health toll of emergency room overcrowding and ambulance diversions will hopefully bring awareness to this all-so common problem that is getting worse, in hopes that someone can correct it. Some one needs to correct it.

The majority of ambulance diversions are due to the fact that the emergency room staff is unable to quickly have patients that are already admitted to a hospital be moved up into their hospital beds. Instead, those patients become “tenants” in the emergency room instead of freeing up vital emergency room beds that are much needed for the new catastrophically injured or critical patients. Hotels and motels can easily put out a, “no vacancy” sign without any repercussions. But hospitals can not.

So, whose fault is it that ambulances need to be diverted every 60 seconds away from hospital emergency rooms? Is it the emergency room staff’s fault? Is it the receiving floor nurses fault? Is it the doctor’s fault or the hospital administrator’s fault? Is it the nursing supervisor’s fault or emergency room charge nurse’s fault? Or is it the policymaker’s fault? There is no one simple answer as to who is at fault for an emergency room overcrowding or ambulance diversion. Each incident needs to be fully investigated by an experienced law firm and medical team. What may be the cause of inadequate care or ambulance diversion in one case may not be the same reason for inadequate care, medical negligence or ambulance diversion in another case.

If you or a loved one was injured or died due to a delay in care because of emergency room overcrowding or ambulance diversion, you need to contact a law firm that has the experience in investigating all the possible reasons on why there was a delay in diagnosing or treating you or a loved one. In addition to our nationally known Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers, we have on staff two physicians and a registered nurses who has been an actual practicing emergency room nurse. Someone who really understands the “how’s and why’s” of emergency room overcrowding and who may be at fault.

Please feel free to call us for a free and confidential consultation if you think you or a loved one was denied or delayed medical treatment due to an ambulance diversion or emergency room overcrowding. Our highly knowledgable medical and legal teams really do understand. That is why our injured victims have had billions awarded on their behalf.

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