Three reports issued by the Institute for Medicine conclude that the nation’s emergency rooms are overcrowded and staff in the ER often don’t have the expertise to treat those seriously ill patients who arrive at the hospital.
Long waits for treatment are common and ambulances sometimes wait hours to unload patients who have called for help. Further, ERs in the United States lack the capabilities and capacity to respond to large disasters or epidemics.
While the population and number of ER visits in the United States are increasing, emergency rooms are closing and hospitals are decreasing the number of beds available to treat patients.
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