Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The hospital where I work was independent until it was bought out, recently, by a large corporation. The corp has described plans to enlarge the hospital with expanded ICU space, a heart surgery center and to close a nearby hospital owned by the same corp. They have already begun to shift some of the inpatient load. This is concerning to those of us who work in the ER, as we already have a significant problem with bed availability. Any ER docs out there without this complaint?

It is not unusual for us to have a patient remain in the ER several hours after admission, waiting for "the room to be cleaned." Aside from the passive tense of that comment, we have some concern that room assignments are shifted to keep the patient off the floor, at least until shift change.

That makes this article that much more concerning. Maybe we can use this data in discussions with nursing administration:
The potential for errors being made during long patient stays in emergency rooms is among the medical dangers that will be studied through grants awarded to 10 doctors by the malpractice insurer for Harvard-affiliated hospitals.

Emergency room ''boarding" -- when patients are examined, treated, and admitted to a hospital, but kept waiting for a room -- is fraught with risk, said Dr. Shan Liu, an emergency-room doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital and a student at the Harvard School of Public Health.