Sunday, February 19, 2012

Abusing Emergency Department

After being in the department for almost 2 months, I have seen literally thousands of patients and about a small portion of the patients seen in the department does not warrant an admission to the emergency department.

Few of these patients will present with insignificant body injury and then, prior to being discharged from emergency department, they will ask for medical certificate for 2-3 days. This is usually seen at the end of long weekend / public holiday.

A small number of patients who has been under followup of specialist clinic presented for a variety of complaints. Upon further questioning, their motive is to seek earlier clinic appointment or to seek earlier date for surgical operation. Truth be told, the waiting list for operation in the government hospital is very long and it is extremely difficult to get earlier date for operation unless the patient him/herself has suffered an emergency complications of the organ itself. Otherwise, I personally recommend them to go to the private hospital for an earlier date for operation. In term of clinic appointment, it is quite difficult to get earlier date unless your medical condition has deteriorated significantly over the past few months

There is quite a big group of patient who came to emergency department for insignificant minor trauma. For example, they had been involved in an accident and then suffered a small abrasion wound about 0.5x0.5 cm. Apart from that, they are quite well. Although emergency department is reserved for all type of trauma cases, I don't think this group of patients should come to A&E. At least they should go to GP first to seek the appropriate treatment. Most of the time, this minor trauma will resolved by itself without any intervention.

Emergency department is for emergency cases. If the community keeps on abusing the department for non life threatening condition, I don't think the department can cope with the large number of patient and give the best treatment for all patients.