Code Blue: America’s emergency care system

Is the crisis in emergency care threatening our ability to deal with trauma?

In October 2006, the AAOS Bulletin reported on the growing crisis in emergency care, including the challenges facing orthopaedists who take call. A year later, it seems that little has changed, except for the intensity of the problem.

“The number of visits to emergency departments is up 18 percent, but the number of emergency departments is down 12 percent,” said Jeffrey Anglen, MD, AAOS fellow and president of the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA), who addressed the AAOS Board of Directors in September. The resulting squeeze, he noted, means that many people are not getting timely and appropriate emergency care and that multiple pressures are being placed on orthopaedic surgeons who take call.

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