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Hot Topic (4/1): Do people use the Emergency Room inappropriately?

Posted by on Apr. 1, 2009 at 1:46 AM
  • 30 Replies

 As moms our children's health is important.  We all agree about that. 

However, often even insured moms take their kids to the Emergency Room when they do not have a true emergency.  The California Health Care Foundation says: 

One of the key challenges facing emergency departments (EDs) nationwide is a marked increase in use, driven primarily by insured patients who do not have true emergencies. With the troubling trend in California of emergency room closures, it is important to examine the factors that lead to inappropriate emergency room use.

Have you ever gone to the Emergency Room when you didn't have a true emergency?  Why do you think people do so?  Do you consider it a problem or just inevitable considering the state of the health care system?


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by on Apr. 1, 2009 at 1:46 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Member on Apr. 1, 2009 at 7:49 AM

For me, I hate going to the ER (who doesn't) and wait hours and hours...I felt it was necessary each time, most were when my child was sick, high fever, lethargic etc. and it was on a weekend in the middle  of the night, no Ped on duty except phone-calls, so off we went, and each time it was good that I did.

I don't know why other's are there, some might be for not so important reasons, but triage is supposed to prioritize, so I guess that would make a longer wait for those people.

Oh I didn't read the linked article..I will and come back..




by on Apr. 1, 2009 at 7:49 AM

i think people who have NO insurance use the ER for nonsense like the common cold and what not just so they can see a dr and get some meds.

i have only used the ER for real emergencies... and was always taken their via ambulance.

by Member on Apr. 1, 2009 at 8:13 AM

I was an uninsured child growing up so I had no choice but to use the ER as a doctor's office. County hospitals can't turn patients away but doctors can. Most doctors will not see you without insurance so without using the ER I would have never had a cast on my broken arm or been treated for a intestinal infection that caused a painful and serious blockage.

I'm insured now so my child won't have to grow through what I did as a child. This is one reason why I think (regardless of your stance on "socialized medicine") that SCHIP being reinstated is a good thing. Adults can take responsibility for their own health care but children can not. Why should a child suffer needlessly because their parents can't afford or choose not to have health coverage?

The true measure of a society is how they care for the least among them.


Wife to Ryan and mommy to be to Aidan.

by on Apr. 1, 2009 at 8:18 AM

I get frequent Urinary infections (  But, They usually leave me in a lot of pain, I usually am peeing blood, and it often spreads to my kidneys and makes it difficult to even walk.  I do go to the ER when I get UTIs... otherwise I would have to wait forever for a doctors appointment and risk high complications.

BUT, i do feel horrible for going into the ER for a UTI.  I feel guilty, although, in the long run it is a logical thing to do.


It's okay.   

My rats think you're gross, too.

<:3  )~~          ~~~(,,,,*>

by on Apr. 1, 2009 at 9:50 AM

I know alot of ppl that are on Medicade that abuse the ER's why not, its all paid for!!! Irritates the crap out of me! 

by on Apr. 1, 2009 at 9:54 AM

I always call the patient advisory nurse. If they say go in we go in. Our doctors office also has convenient care they are open until like 9 or 10 so if at all possible we go there its usually an in and out procedure. I hate the er.  

by Member on Apr. 1, 2009 at 10:06 AM

When my ex dh was in the airforce they had a emergi clinic off base so if you couldnt get into see the doctor you could go there. Then it was closed and wow did the emergency room fill up. I had friends who worked there saying she couldnt believe how many people started coming in for colds. I dislocated my knee once and went in. A woman whos kids just had a bad cough started frekaing because I was being seen first while I was crying in pain. Geesh. We had already waited an hour. Where I live now there is a shortage of doctors sometimes it takes a few days to get into the dr. So if you are suffering from strep throat or a busted ear drum you may go the the er and the Er is so quick here you wouldnt believe it most people must wait to see their dr. Oh and we only have one pediatrician for 80 miles!

by New Member on Apr. 1, 2009 at 10:10 AM

The only time I can see going to the ER is if it is a true emergency or the walk -in clinics are closed.    Plus it is super expensive.  I guess if you don't have insurance and it is the only way to see a doctor I could understand but if you have insurance it is quicker and cheaper to go to a walk in.    

by Bronze Member on Apr. 1, 2009 at 10:26 AM

I do think ERs are overused - BUT - I have called the doc's office before and been told either "we're closed" or "we're booked up" and been SENT to the ER.  I think the entire medical community needs to wake up and keep regular clinics open and staffed later.  Non-emergency medical stuff often needs attention outside of banker's hours, especially when both parents work full-time.



by on Apr. 1, 2009 at 10:27 AM


 The last time I was in the ER, my son had a broken wrist.   I called and went to my DR's office.   

 Due to "local insurance" issues, the only way the doctor could cast him was by chineese water torture in the ER.   We signed in, and told the triage nurse why were there.   Doctor requested, she told us would call us when the "specialist" arrived.  We waited 20 minutes, then the chinease water torture began.

 I have no clue why the other people were there, didnt ask.   I was too busy having "flashbacks" of the last time my son was in the ER.  

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