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January 22, 1968

Expanding the Emergency Department

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery. University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver.

JAMA. 1968;203(4):279-282. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140040031007

It is agreed that, if one individual requests emergency care from an emergency department, it can accept such a patient and provide good medical care with its normal personnel and facilities. The department can probably handle five emergencies at once. However, if there are ten injured patients, offduty employees must be called in and the medical staff must be augmented. If the number of injured increases to 50, additional supplies must be obtained, additional space must be assigned for initial triage and immediate care, current hospital patients must be evacuated, all off-duty personnel must be called in, and all physicians, regardless of their field of practice, must participate. As the number of patients increases, more and more ancillary workers must be activated, but the objective should remain the same, to give every patient early, adequate, and definitive care. Finally, however, a point is reached when this objective is no longer