December 13, 2016 – Real Emergency


Anchor lead: Why don’t urgent care centers reduce ED crowding? Elizabeth Tracey reports

When people seek medical care in the ED they often face lengthy waits, and urgent care centers, frequently located adjacent to emergency departments, were supposed to be the answer. Yet a recent study shows that they haven’t helped the problem much, if at all. Gabor Kelen, director of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins, says people’s expectations are one explanation.

Kelen: There are people who have chest pain, and we keep telling them if you have chest pain go to the emergency department because you could be having a heart attack. Well of all the people who show up in emergency department with chest pain, only about one or two percent are actually going to have something related to their heart that turned out to be an emergency. If you measure it from the back end after the fact you say, oh, 95-98% of these people didn’t have an emergency, they’re clogging up the emergency department but their symptom to them is no different than the person who’s having a real heart attack.  :33

Kelen says if you think you have an emergency it is still better to go to the ED. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.