If you’ve ever had to visit a hospital emergency room, you know that it can be a time of high anxiety. And the longer you have to wait to be seen by a doctor, the more anxious you become. Based upon a recent study of emergency room wait times, including in hospitals in Louisiana, there are many anxious patients waiting to be seen. And with the number of patients being seen, emergency rooms may be fertile ground for hospital negligence or malpractice.
The study, published by ProPublica, found that the national average wait time to see a medical professional in an emergency room is 28 minutes. In Louisiana, the average time is just under that number with a 27-minute door-to-doctor wait. But some hospitals in the state report a higher number. Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge reports an average wait time of 53 minutes.
The study names several factors that affect the length of time a patient must wait. Some of those are obvious, such as the population of the area where the hospital is located and how many patients visit the facility on an average day. But some of the reasons are surprising. The president of the American Dental Association wrote that dental issues were reported by more than 2 million emergency room patients in 2012. Patients with everything from toothaches to cavities show up at emergency rooms for urgent care.
Regardless of the reason for your trip to the emergency room, be aware of the potential wait times. And if you feel that delayed assistance in an emergency room contributed to the worsening of your condition or that of a loved one, consider consulting an attorney who deals with medical malpractice cases.
Source: FierceHealthcare.com, “ER wait times on rise nationwide,” Katie Sullivan, Feb. 27, 2014