Intended for healthcare professionals


Epidemic emergencies . . . and other stories

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 12 April 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j1755

Wasting time in epidemic emergencies

Epidemics such as caused by Ebola virus, Middle East respiratory syndrome, and Zika virus hit the headlines as they occur and then pop up intermittently in the media as outbreaks peak and wane. Reliable observational studies typically cannot even get started for the best part of a year (median 335 days), according to a survey (J Crit Care doi:10.1016/j.jcrc.2017.02.009). The longest delay is in completing data sharing agreements, which takes nine months for something that should be readily fixable in advance.

Breathless for an ambulance

One in five ambulances arriving at the emergency department of a large teaching hospital in the north of England carried a patient …

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