How to select an emergency room

Beckers Hospital Review released its annual list of the hospitals with the most emergency room (ER) visits. The 2016 list, which just became available, includes a total 52 hospitals, with seven of them located in Texas.

The list includes ER visits that resulted in patients being admitted to the hospital, as well as ER visits where patients were discharged without being admitted.

Texas hospitals in the top 52 list for 2016 ER visits

Number five on the list is Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, in Houston, with 180,200 ER visits.

Number 11 on the list is San Antonio’s Baptist Medical Center, with 141,000 ER visits.

Number 18 on the list is San Antonio’s Methodist Hospital, with 132,300 ER visits.

Number 25 on the list is Ben Taub Hospital, in Houston, with 118,300 ER visits.

Number 29 on the list is Fort Worth’s John Peter Smith Hospital, with 113,167 ER visits.

Another Fort Worth Hospital, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, came in at number 33 on the list.

Number 49 on the list is Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, with 89,600 ER visit.

Selecting an emergency room

Most people find that emergency rooms tend to have a long wait time. This leads some people to select an ER based on that factor alone.

Some research, though, suggests that busy emergency rooms have better patient results than ERs that see fewer patients.

A University of Michigan research study, published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, concluded that patients admitted to a hospital after an emergency had a 10% lower chance of death in the hospital if they were initially seen in one of the country’s busiest ERs, as opposed to one of the least busy emergency rooms.

In speaking with many emergency medicine experts that Painter Law Firm has hired to testify in medical malpractice cases, the general opinion is that busy ER doctors are regularly exposed to a wider variety of medical conditions. Experience can make a big difference for the doctor in making the proper diagnosis and arranging appropriate treatment.

Some ERs have certifications

Some emergency rooms are certified by national accrediting bodies in order to handle different types of conditions. Generally speaking, certification means that a hospital has complied with evidence-based standards that increase the likelihood that quality care will be delivered.

For example, two accrediting bodies, The Joint Commission and DNV Healthcare, offer primary stroke certification and comprehensive stroke certification for hospitals.

Generally speaking, hospitals that have no stroke certification offer a lower standard of care than hospitals with primary stroke certification. And hospitals with comprehensive stroke center certification are equipped to handle even the most complex stroke cases.

In addition, there are certifications for cardiac/heart disease, breast cancer, and cancer, among other things.

Realizing that emergency room care is not all the same, I recommend doing some research on the various emergency rooms in your area, so you can make an informed decision, rather than a desperate one under pressure.

We are here to help

If you have been seriously injured by poor emergency room, hospital, or physician care, call 281-580-8800, for a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.