The Globe and Mail missed the mark. Hospitals, NOT Emergency Departments (EDs), leave patients in overcrowded EDs for nearly 30 hours before moving them to an inpatient bed. EDs do not make admitted patients spend too long in the ED. Hospitals do. Hospitals could empty EDs of admitted patients at any time, if they wanted to.
Hospitals choose to leave 15 extra patients admitted in the ED; they could spread them out over all the inpatient wards. Few hospitals enter the political battle of angering unions by placing extra patients on inpatient hallways, despite the nearly 400 articles published showing that mortality and morbidity increase for every hour admitted patients get warehoused in EDs.
Full Capacity Protocols empty EDs, have been used in Canada, and leave no excuse for exposing patients to the proven risks of long waits in the ED.
When will government change incentives so that hospitals start emptying EDs?