If you recently went to an emergency room because you have a minor injury, you’re not alone. Emergency rooms are the best place to get immediate attention for minor injuries, according to a new medical study. There are not enough doctors to go around these days, and there seems to be more health issues. But hears the bad news. Emergency rooms across the country can’t keep up with the demand. More non-urgent care patients go to emergency rooms because they can’t get an appointment fast enough with their regular physicians. In fact, some emergency rooms have to treat patients in hallways because they don’t have enough treatment rooms to treat people with life-threatening medical conditions.
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According to a recent Hospital Association survey, more than 50 percent of the hospitals who took part in the survey have overcrowded emergency rooms. Some of those hospitals expect the overcrowding to impact the quality of care patients get in those overcrowded situations. Emergency room doctors and nurses work diligently to treat all patients, but misdiagnosis and wrong treatments seem to occur more frequently in overcrowded emergency rooms.
Doctors around the country understand why emergency rooms are full, but that doesn’t make their job any easier. Doctors like Tallahassee emergency room Doctor Eric Forsthoefel deal with non-urgent patients on a daily basis. Dr. Forsthoefel knows what to do when his emergency room is full of patients who should see their regular healthcare provider. He treats them like they were critical care patients. Forsthoefel gives every patient what they deserve thanks to six years of emergency room experience, and years of study. Forsthoefel got his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport. And he stayed to do his residency there. He has a Florida and Louisiana medical license, but he works in Florida now.
Dr. Eric Forsthoefel talks about the non-urgent care dilemma most hospital face in clear terms. He understands the hurdles people must jump over to get quality healthcare. But he also realizes emergency resources should be for critical care not for non-urgent care. But the1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act states hospitals must provide emergency healthcare to everyone regardless of social or legal status, or their ability to pay for those services. Forsthoefel treats educated, high-income patients who have a primary care provider, but they can’t get an appointment when they need one. Forsthoefel also treats low-income patients who like the convenience that emergency rooms provide. Plus, most low-income patients don’t have a primary care provider. Dr. Forsthoefel said he treats Millennials with non-urgent medical issues because they like to come to emergency rooms even though their medical condition is not an emergency.
Dr. Forsthoefel and other physicians don’t have a solution for the overcrowding in hospital emergency rooms. But physicians know the situation is out of control. They know patient care suffers because of the number of non-urgent patients they treat every day. But that’s the nature of emergency room care until medical professionals can come up with a better emergency room care plan.