Frequent Flyer Study Being Used To Perpetuate Myth That Emergency Room Overcrowding is Caused by Patients with Non-Urgent Medical Conditions

From ACEP:

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) today said a study from Austin, Texas, was incorrectly being used to perpetuate the myth that emergency departments are overcrowded because of patients with non-urgent medical conditions. Dr. Nick Jouriles, president of ACEP, issued the following statement:

“Patients with non-urgent problems represent only 12 percent of all emergency visits nationally, and they cost the least to treat in both time and resources. It is frankly absurd to blame overcrowding in any emergency department on such a small number of people. Blaming patients deflects attention from the real reasons emergency departments are crowded.

“America’s emergency departments are crowded because we have increasing numbers of patients with serious problems seeking care in a shrinking number of emergency departments. Research clearly shows that most frequent users of the emergency department need emergency care. Every year, the country’s population gets older and sicker; these are the patients who need the most care and take up the most resources. On top of that, many hospitals engage in a practice known as ‘boarding,’ by holding patients in the emergency department even after they have been admitted to the hospital. This prevents doctors and nurses from treating new patients coming for treatment and that is the true source of overcrowding

Emergency Physician Leaders To Convene In Washington, D.C., April 19-22

From ACEP:

ACEP members will demand that emergency medicine be addressed during health care reform

Washington, D.C. – Nearly 400 emergency physicians from across the country will be converging on the nation’s capital April 19-22 to advocate for greater patient access to lifesaving emergency medical treatment. As part of their visit, these medical specialty leaders will meet with key policy and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to educate them about the nation’s emergency care crisis, which was recently documented in ACEP’s National Report Card on the State of Emergency Care.  The report, issued in December, assigned the nation an overall grade of C- for its support of emergency care and a D- in access to emergency care.

Emergency physicians will urge their elected officials to hold hearings on and enact the Access to Emergency Medical Services Act (H.R. 1188 and S. 468), a bill that outlines measures to strengthen access to emergency care for patients. The meetings are part of the 2009 Leadership and Advocacy Conference of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), a key component of which is to urge members of Congress and the administration to include an array of critical emergency care issues in the discussions of health care reforms.

Economic Crisis Increases Burden on Nation’s Emergency Medical Care System

From ACEP:

Urge your legislators to co-sponsor the “Access to Emergency Medical Services Act” to help support and preserve access to critical emergency care.

The consequences of our nation’s economic turmoil and mounting job losses can be seen every day in emergency departments across the country, where the newly uninsured increasingly are turning for care. Emergency departments are the health care safety net for everyone, insured and uninsured alike, and their role in America’s health care system has never been more critical.

Every American expects emergency departments to provide expert medical care when they need it. Emergency physicians also care for people who have nowhere else to turn and often are the only source of medical care available at night, on weekends and on holidays.

Recognizing that it is imperative that Congress address the escalating crisis in our nation’s emergency departments, Reps. Bart Gordon (D-TN) and Pete Sessions (R-TX) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) in the U.S. Senate, introduced the “Access to Emergency Medical Services Act” on February 25, 2009.

State Standard Sought On Responding to Mentally Ill

From JEMS:

A family’s fear for their mentally ill son has prompted (Maine) state Rep. Jeff McCabe to submit a bill establishing a statewide training protocol for first responders who try to help people experiencing a mental health crisis.

McCabe, a Skowhegan Democrat, said that while many police departments train officers to help the mentally ill, he could find no statewide standard.

“It wasn’t really clear what everyone was doing and whether it was the same across the board,'”he said.

McCabe is one of several lawmakers who have submitted legislation that deals with how police, firefighters and others can help people who are mentally ill without endangering themselves or others.

Commotio Cordis

From JEMS:

It was as if lightning had struck the baseball player in the chest and shorted his heart’s electrical circuit, medical staff say.

Instead, a catcher throwing a ball to third base last weekend hit Kyle McCammon in the chest. The impact, which hit Kyle between the second and fourth rib, stopped his heart from beating.

Luckily for 12-year-old Kyle, who plays competitive baseball as a Southaven Panther, his mother is a nurse, and she and two other nurses ran to his aid.

3 Chicago-area hospitals check on TB-infected doctor’s contacts


Public health officials in and around Chicago, Illinois, announced Friday they are offering testing to hundreds of patients and staff members at three area hospitals who may have been exposed to tuberculosis by a doctor who was recently diagnosed with an active case of the disease.

The infected first-year pediatric resident, who is in her 20s, was diagnosed Tuesday with a confirmed case of tuberculosis, said Tim Hadic, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Public Health.

GPS-Enabled Inhalers Help Doctors Pinpoint Asthma Triggers and Causes

From Gizmodo:

In order to track possible danger zones that trigger asthma attacks, the Deapartment of Health Sciences of the University of Wiconsin-Madison is working on a GPS-enabled inhaler that could potentially help asthmatics everywhere.

With this technology, every time asthmatics use their rescue inhalers, the inhalers—with built-in GPS—will be able to pinpoint exactly where they are. This lets doctors and researchers know where to study, allowing them to detect what is triggering the attacks and possibly even uncovering why people suffer from the lung disease in the first place. So basically, frequent asthma attacks at a local park could mean an excess of allergens and pet dander.