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Calif: Crowded ERs put patients on hold

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NRSKarenRN has 40 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

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Some physicians and paramedics in Los Angeles say hospital emergency rooms are so overcrowded that many patients are forced to wait for as long as five hours in hospital hallways, cared for only by paramedics.

Los Angeles Times: June 23, 2002

...."Several times lately in the Antelope Valley, paramedics waiting at hospitals have sought permission via radio from supervisors 70 miles away to administer intravenous medications to patients. That was because they could not get the attention of a doctor or nurse just yards away."......

Full story (free registration required):

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-er23jun23.story

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Yes. At my hospital patients have come in with chest pain R/O MI, EKG with ST elevation, given TPA, Heparin, and a NTG drip. They have gone to the cath lap and had stents placed in coronary arteries then taken back to the ER.

The next day the femoral A-line was removed (still in ER) and the third day the patient was discharged from the ER!

This was to avoid opening a closed unit for only 2 patients!

The ratios in California have required 2 or fewer patients per licensed nurse for critical care units. There must be 2 licensed nurses (50% of whom may be LVNs) at all times when a patient is present.

When they keep 1 or 2 patients in the ER they only staff ONE critical care nurse. The ER nurses are to be the back-up.

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