ProPublica’s ER Wait Watcher gathers data on treatment times of hospitals around the U.S. As of January, 2015, New York ranks fifth in average time a patient spends waiting in the ER at 33 minutes. If the patient needs to be admitted into the hospital, it will take an additional 2.5 hours, which is fourth in the country. The national average wait time is 24 minutes.
Although no data on several dozen hospitals in the state could be gathered, 22 hospitals made ER patients wait for 60 minutes or longer. The top-seeded hospital made patients wait for over two hours. Experts pointed to the sudden rise in admissions over the past few years, combined with the closure of select departments in hospitals.
It should be noted that this will have serious impact on saving lives. In 2014, a 30-year-old man complaining of a rash waited for eight hours at Saint Barnabas Hospital due to lack of staff. He was found dead by a security guard in the morning. According to the ER Wait Watcher, the hospital has an average wait time of 1.37 hours.
Since 2009 (or Earlier)
Hospitals all over the country struggle to decrease ER wait times, a problem long cited by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2009. Aside from understaff, other reasons include a rise in non-urgent cases in the ER, lack of equipment, and—in rare cases—negligence. As a critical facility, hospitals should be responsible for streamlining their organization.
Even public officials are fed up with the long wait times. Just last January, State Sen. Adriano Espaillat (D-District 31) and New York City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez criticized New York Presbyterian and Columbia University Medical not only for long wait times but also poor care. The former is currently undergoing a $100-million ER expansion project.
Right to Sue
Any delay in emergency care that results in serious complications or even death shouldn’t go unchecked. Victims and their families should consult a reputable NYC medical malpractice attorney like Joseph M. Lichtenstein to arrange for a lawsuit. Such lawyers know that every second of care is critical to saving lives.
In healthcare, there must be no room for error; emergency cases must be treated without delay, given caregivers’ obligation to the public. ER delays can be argued as a sign of medical negligence and result in penalties for the offending facility. Don’t delay seeking aid from capable NYC medical malpractice lawyers, just as you wouldn’t delay seeking emergency care.
“ER Wait Watcher,” ProPublica
“New York Waiting Times,” ProPublica