A Chicago Injury Lawyer Reveals the Pros and Cons of Short ER Waits

May 3, 2013

A growing number of hospitals in Chicago and throughout the rest of the country have taken to advertising their emergency room wait times on television, billboards, phone apps, websites, Facebook, and Twitter. They hope to draw in patients who need medical care and do not know where to go.

Most people do not enjoy waiting. When a broken leg, nausea, or other severe malady accompanies that waiting, time can seem to stand still. Naturally, it makes sense for patients to look for a hospital that can get them in and out quickly, right?  Well, the answer may be more complicated than that. There are both advantages and disadvantages to advertising short emergency room wait times.

Following are some of the advantages of advertising short emergency room wait times:

  • Short emergency room wait time goals are an attempt to ensure that patients are seen quickly and have the best possible experience while in the emergency room.
  • Short emergency room wait time goals can help ensure that hospital emergency room staff members are using their time efficiently.
  • Short emergency room wait time goals can help increase the volume of patients a hospital sees.

These benefits sound like positives for both patients and hospitals. However, there are also problems with advertising short emergency wait times. These disadvantages include the following:

  • Patients expecting short emergency room wait times can overcrowd hospitals. If this happens, hospitals may not have the staffing or physical space to stay true to that estimate.
  • Patients believe that emergency rooms work on a first come, first serve basis. However, this is not the case—the sickest patient always receives care first.  You could walk into an empty waiting room with a headache, but if someone comes in after you with a broken leg, you may still have to wait.
  • Advertising short emergency room wait times serves as a method to woo patients to the hospital, but may leave them with false expectations concerning their emergency room experience.

Emergency room injuries happen every day. Diagnostic mistakes, improper patient intake, and patient file mix-ups, are just a few of the common hospital errors that can cause serious injuries. Emergency room overcrowding can increase the risk of a medical error.

If you think that you have been the victim of an emergency room accident or some other medical error, contact a Chicago medical malpractice attorney at Lane & Lane today.  We have the experience, commitment, and knowledge necessary to fight for the justice you deserve. Contact our office at 312-332-1400 to schedule your free consultation. We are standing by to help.

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