A recent study by Press Ganey, a national hospital consulting firm, found that emergency room wait times are increasing.  In 2009, the national average wait time to be seen by an emergency room medical provider was four hours and seven minutes; this was up four minutes from 4 hours and 3 minutes in 2008, but up 31 minutes since  2002 when American emergency room patients waited an average of 3 hours and 36 minutes.
 
According to the study, Utah had the longest wait times of any state. An emergency room patient in Utah can expect to wait an average of eight hours and 17 minutes to be seen. Kansas had the next longest wait time. Kansas emergency room patients spend an average of five hours and 43 minutes waiting.

These numbers come from surveys of 1.5 million patients released from 1,893 emergency rooms across the United States. Researchers blame lack of staffing and the loss of health insurance because of the recession for the long waits. Patients seek emergency room treatment for non-emergencies because they don’t have the insurance coverage necessary to visit a doctor’s office. 
  Long waits don’t need to mean that patients who need urgent care must wait. Emergency rooms have triage procedures to determine how urgent a patient’s needs are. Patients with life threatening conditions should be seen immediately. However, it is possible that seriously ill patients may go unnoticed or uncared for in busy emergency rooms.

Do You Think You May Have A Medical Malpractice Claim?

If you believe you may have a medical malpractice claim you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.