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Medical News and Perspectives
April 5, 2006

Emergency Department Overcrowding Gives Ambulances the Runaround

JAMA. 2006;295(13):1504-1505. doi:10.1001/jama.295.13.1504

A diversion can draw attention away from something important. But for the emergency medical care system, diversion helps focus attention on the growing capacity crisis.

Hospital emergency departments overstressed by incoming patients often need to divert ambulances transporting other patients to different facilities. Observers in the emergency medicine community view this as a byproduct of the many-faceted problems facing health care delivery in general. But until now, the literature on the severity of diversion problems has been scant.

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