ED directors report inadequate emergency surgery coverage

Accreditation Connection, November 24, 2010

The majority of ED directors participating in a survey reported inadequate staff coverage for emergency surgery, according to the December edition of Academic Emergency Medicine. One quarter reported a loss or downgrade of their hospitals’ trauma center designation.

Neurosurgical and hand surgery coverage were most lacking, and teaching hospitals overall had more coverage than non-teaching hospitals.

“Twenty-one percent of emergency department deaths and permanent injury can be linked to shortages in specialty physician care. Transferring patients significant distances to an available specialist is sometimes the only option, but it can create a dangerous delay in care,” said the lead study author Mitesh Rao, MD, MHS, of the department of emergency medicine at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and clinical scholar with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in an American College of Emergency Physicians press release.

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