In the last decade hospitals have been forced to re-examine their emergency clinics because increasing numbers of patients are using such facilities. In most hospitals today the traditional concept of the emergency room, as a receiving ward for accidentally injured and critically ill patients, no longer holds. Indeed, emergency clinics in most hospitals could more properly be called dispensaries, or ambulatory clinics, dealing as they do with relatively very few cases that could not be adequately treated in the practitioner's office. Shortliffe et al.1 found an average increase of 400% in emergency room visits in the 15-year period, 1940 to 1955, in 90 United States hospitals. The Hartford Hospital saw its annual emergency room load increase from 3,000 in 1944 to just under 18,000 in 1955. Likewise, emergency room visits at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston increased from 5,500 in 1951 to 13,000 in 1959.2
The situation appears to
BERGMAN AB, HAGGERTY RJ. The Emergency Clinic: A Study of Its Role in a Teaching Hospital. Am J Dis Child. 1962;104(1):36–44. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1962.02080030038006
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