Emergency Medicine Health Care Providers – Those Who Prefer One Time Rapid Patient Encounters

by: Julianna Merback Burdo

Julianna Merback BurdoDid you ever ask yourself why the need to go to a hospital’s emergency room typically arises in the middle of the night, during the weekend, on a holiday, or in the middle of snow storm? Then the questions begin to flow: do I need to go to the ER, should I go, which hospital is best, will it be crowded and how long will I wait, and what on earth will they do for me? The decision is made and you go. First, you wait. Then triage. Then you wait. You get called back and a nurse or technician gets you settled. Then you wait. At some point an individual who you believe is a physician appears. Similar questions are asked of you, likely for what is now the third time. A relatively quick, seemingly sparse physical examination then ensues. There may or may not be more verbal interaction, and you may or may not learn what steps will then be taken to determine your fate. The physician exits. Tests are run perhaps medications or other instructions are given. You are, hopefully, cleared to go home. You realize at that point that out of the total time just spent in the emergency room, that less than .05% of that time was with the physician.

This raises what I believe are fascinating questions. What are the character traits of individuals who practice emergency medicine? Unlike a primary care physician, psychologist, or general dentist who typically sees patients on a routine basis over what is often the course of their lifetime, an emergency room physician is more prone to a once-in-a-lifetime, 10-minute patient encounter. While these brief encounters surely cannot form the basis of an actual relationship, they can be impactful and significant to your health and well-being. Which would you rather be – a medical provider with lasting patient relationships, or one who works in the trenches of emergency medicine where patients come and go?

The medical malpractice team at Wapner Newman has extensive experience handling emergency medicine cases. If you or your loved one believe that an injury occurred in the course of being treated at a hospital’s emergency department, call us at (215) 569-0900 for a free consultation.