When is an emergency department not an emergency department?

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7369.901 (Published 19 October 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:901
  1. Sue Collinson, project officer.,
  2. Trevor Turner, consultant psychiatrist.
  1. WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training for Mental Health, Institute of Psychiatry, London SE5 8AF
  2. East London and the City Mental Health NHS Trust, Homerton Hospital, London E9 6SR

    EDITOR—Recently, a young couple, equipped with backpacks and bedrolls, walked into our local accident and emergency department at about 11 pm, climbed into sleeping bags, and set their alarm clock. Early next morning, roused by their alarm, the couple rolled up their bags and left.

    What was the explanation for this behaviour?

    It was not careful preparation for attending a department in which the waiting time can often be eight hours …

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