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Emergency room medicine: 1

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 26 August 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:574
  1. George Dunea, attending physician
  1. Cook County Hospital, Chicago, USA

    Recent studies have shown that for many Americans the emergency room has become the main source of medical care. This issue has received attention largely in the context of care for the indigent, such care being perceived as unduly expensive, impersonal, episodic, and lacking in continuity. Hurried doctors seeing unfamiliar patients under stressed conditions will always order more tests than an unhurried evaluation of a known patient would require. Dissatisfied patients with unrelieved symptoms often wander on to the next emergency room, where the same tests are likely to be repeated.

    Not so with middle class people, goes the prevailing wisdom, for they can contact their doctors at any time …

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