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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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February 2018 (Vol. 28 Issue 11)

Emergency care:

About the author: 

Emergency care: image

The health service is seriously overstretched

The health service is seriously overstretched. Patients with chronic conditions that require routine care tend to get the worst of it, so perhaps they comfort themselves with the thought that patients with acute, life-or-death, problems are getting the best of the treatment.
Sadly, it seems that even patients in the intensive care wards are faring just as badly. One study into emergency medicine has discovered that nearly half of these patients received treatment that was considered 'less than good practice'. The care was so poor in a third of these cases that it may well have contributed to the patient's death.
The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) looked at the records of the 1,677 patients who been admitted into intensive care in hospitals in England and Wales during June, 2003. Of these patients, 560 died.
The group discovered that senior house officers were often left in charge of caring for severely ill patients, yet in 6 out of 10 cases the consultants knew nothing about the referral, and 1 in 4 patients had to wait 12 hours before they were seen by a doctor.
Junior doctors were often unable to recognize a critical illness, and were unsure how to use fluid and oxygen when treating emergency patients.


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