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August 1967

Psychiatric Emenrgency ServiceImplications for the Patient, the Physician, the Family, the Hospital, and the Community

Author Affiliations

Rochester, NY
From the Outpatient Department, Emergency Division, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and Strong Memorial Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Rochester, NY.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(2):176-182. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730260048007

MAN seemingly ignores his health and his physician until he feels a nagging discomfort, at which point he becomes desperate. Busy, harassed physicians with a need to regulate their activities have little comprehension of, and less tolerance for, this aspect of human behavior. Thus, there is a glowing discrepancy between how a patient and a physician will define an emergency, which has led to the overwhelming increase in the use of the emergency room in general hospitals.1,2 What was designed to provide immediate attention for severe trauma and acute life or death illness is now freely used by anyone who feels that his or her problem cannot wait for an appointment. To some extent, the inability to wait is realistically determined by the difficulty and long delay in getting appointments, particularly if one does not have a family physician; to some extent it is evidence

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