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Letter: The 800-Pound Gorilla

Emergency Medicine News: June 2011 - Volume 33 - Issue 6 - p 4
doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000398969.77892.a9


In the recent article, “As ED Waits Grow, Experts Point to Crowding and Access” (EMN 2011;33[4]:1), we again failed to address the 800-pound gorilla in the room. I am a practicing physician in a very efficient private hospital in Virginia. Over the past 20 years, we have taken great pride in how quickly and efficiently we can take care of patients and provide accurate and beneficial treatment.

Lately, we have seen how the Joint Commission's rules and regulations are doing everything they can to throw additional hurdles in the way of our providing prompt and efficient treatment, such as removing the suturing materials and anesthetic from the suturing rooms, instituting a mandatory EMR, requiring physician online ordering, requiring physicians to personally see every Medicaid and Medicare patient seen by a NP or PA in the fast track, and the one to beat all, requiring cardiac monitoring chest wall stickers to be individually dated by nursing staff when a package of new stickers is opened. What a time-intensive waste!

Either they want prompt, efficient care, or they don't. If they wish to have the former, then get out of our way, and let us treat patients. If the latter, then quit grumbling and complaining about the outcome and the long waits. For those patients who died waiting to be seen, the real culprits to blame are so far from direct patient care that they will never be held accountable.

Sorry to be so honest, but someone had to say it.

C. Thomas Carter, MD

Charlottesville, VA

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.