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When The Crowded Emergency Room Turns Deadly

A crowded emergency department is associated with an increased risk of death, a new report finds. (sobriquet.net/flickr)

Crowded emergency rooms can be annoying, infuriating, scary and (if you saw the brilliant documentary, The Waiting Room, about the emergency department at Highland Hospital in Oakland, Calif.) heartbreaking. Now add this to the list: Deadly

A new report published online in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that “patients admitted to the hospital from the emergency department during periods of high crowding died more often than similar patients admitted to the same hospital when the emergency department was less crowded.”

A crowded ER, it turns out, was also associated with longer hospital stays and slightly higher costs, the study found. Continue reading