Yesterday, the day before election day, the American College of Emergency Physicians sent a letter to President Biden ringing the alarm on a breaking point of the public health crisis of hospital patients boarding in the ED. Patients present at their most vulnerable moments to the healthcare safety net that the ED provides. Yet, the inability of ED physicians to have the organizational or structural support to move patients to inpatient units no matter how fast they try to go hurts patients. This is especially pertinent for those already suffering from mental illness who are forced to wait days in a very triggering and chaotic environment – the opposite of the therapeutic care setting they absolutely need to recover. Pediatric emergency departments are also drowning in critically ill children who are sick with a respiratory virus but have no beds to go to.
Also yesterday, the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine published an article that I had the pleasure to co-author. We point out how, “The decision-making involved in placing a patient in a hallway bed as opposed to a private room for treatment also brings up the concern of socioeconomic and ethnic bias in placement. This problem may be amplified by the decision to place patients who are undifferentiated and not triaged appropriately especially during busier ED hours. Prior studies have shown evidence of ethnic and racial bias, gender bias, and age biases in the often chaotic environment of the ED.”
Read the rest of the article here.