A commenter responds to what I wrote about the Boston Herald story on ER care yesterday:
Not surprising is that most healthcare workers always side with the hospital. Why is that? What if that had been your family member that had been refused treatment and ended on a vent at a different hospital? Would your loyalties still be with the hospital? Blaming the victims is not the way to a solution and actually it causes much discord between patients and physicians.
I do wonder if the medical profession is completely removed from the realities that make it easier for them to come to the conclusions that they always seem to come to? Would your family member be treated the same at an ER as what the general public is? Or, would they be rushed back and treated just because you are a part of that community? Would that make it impossible for you to see the problem in the same sense as a layperson?
Unfortunately, this is missing the point. Even as I’m not familiar with the case, the blame certainly does not go to the patient. However, before placing instinctive blame on the hospital, consider the circumstances. It has been noted that only 46 percent of ER visits by privately insured patients required care within an hour of arrival. This implies that approximately half of ER visits were “non-emergent”. Had the ER been properly utilized by the public, perhaps the individual in the story would not have faced a five-hour wait.
More often than not, the media does not choose to highlight these facts, nor do they make any effort in educating the public in proper emergency room utilization. Sensational headlines like the “ER Almost Killed Me” simply pours fuel on the fire instead of finding a way to put it out.