ORLANDO, Fla. — The nation’s emergency-medical system is in crisis, with crowded ERs turning away ambulances, patients waiting hours to be treated and a shortage of on-call specialists. A three-volume report published Wednesday found that the system is barely able to meet daily demands let alone the potential onslaught of patients from a disease outbreak or terrorist attack. The Institute of Medicine, which spent two years investigating the problems, found gaping holes in the ‘safety net’ for the critically ill and injured. ‘You may not be caught and saved when your life depends on it,’ said Dr. A. Brent Eastman, a member of the institute’s emergency-medicine committee and chief medical officer for ScrippsHealth in California. Many of the problems are playing out in Central Florida, where hospitals routinely struggle to balance patients and beds, people might wait hours to see an ER doctor and sometimes linger for days in an emergency-room bed until a hospital room becomes available. ‘The system is stressed, there’s no question about it,’ said Dr. Jay Falk with the Florida College of Emergency Physicians and academic chairman of emergency medicine for Orlando Regional Medical Center. ‘We’ve been working on these issues and […]

Read the Full Article