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Anthem asks Missourians to think twice before going to the emergency room – KCUR

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of Missouris largest insurers, no longer covers emergency room visits that it deems unnecessary.

The policy aims to save costs and direct low-risk patients to primary care physicians and urgent care clinics. But doctors say patients may avoid going to a hospital when they really need it, if they fear a large bill.

Theyre forcing the lay public to make a medical determination, said Dr. Doug Char, a Washington University emergency physician. Theyre basically telling people you have to decide if this chest pain youre having is indigestion or a heart attack.

An emergency room is the most expensive place to see a doctor, and insurers are balking at the cost. Between 15 percent and 30 percent of emergency room visits in the St. Louis region are avoidable, according to a study by the nonprofit Midwest Health Initiative. Missouri hospitals charge an average of $372 for emergency room visits for minor issues, but some charge as much as $1,300, according to data compiled by the Missouri Hospital Association.

“Most non-emergent medical conditions can be easily treated at retail clinics, urgent care clinics or 24/7 telehealth services,” Anthem’s Missouri spokesperson, Scott Golden, wrote in an email. “The review by an Anthem medical director will take into consideration the presenting symptoms that brought the member to the emergency room as well as the diagnosis.”

In mid-May, Anthem sent letters to Missouri enrollees to alert them that from June 1, it would no longer cover emergency room services for non-emergencies. In such cases, people who have health insurance could still be stuck with the full cost of their visit, if the insurer determines that their symptoms did not reach the level of requiring emergency care.

Anthem enforces the same guidelines in Kentucky, and put the rule in place for Georgia policyholders this month. Its officials say there are several exceptions, such as if a patient is under 14, the visit occurs on a Sunday or there are no urgent-care centers within 15 miles.

The American College of Emergency Physicians raised a red flag when Anthem sent out a spreadsheet of 1,908 conditions that it may not deem worthy of coverage in an emergency room. Some of the listed symptoms could indicate a life-threatening emergency, said Dr. Jonathan Heidt, president of Missouris ACEP chapter.

To have them under that threat of not having their bills paid if theyre wrong about what their diagnosis is, its really going to harm patients in the long run, Heidt said. Our patients have a right to seek emergency care.

The doctors argue that Anthems policy, and similar rules set up by state Medicaid programs, violate the federal Affordable Care Acts prudent layperson standard. The rule asserts that a person with average knowledge of health and medicine should be able to anticipate serious impairment to his or her health in an emergency, and that laws should not assume that a person will know more than that. Anthem contends that it reviews claims using this standard already.

Though Anthem began enforcing the Missouri rule at the beginning of June, patients who visit the emergency room for non-emergencies likely will receive bills in the coming months. Heidt said that if Anthem does not reconsider its policy, ACEP may weigh legal action against the insurer.

Were still a little bit early for that,” Heidt said. “But at this time, all of our options are on the table.

According to the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration, the rule is based on previously filed language that was approved by the regulator. Other plans have similar provisions.

“If a consumer believes a claim has been improperly denied, or has questions about how a claim has been handled by their insurer, they can contact the Department’s Consumer Affairs Hotline at 800-726-7390 or they can file a complaint online,” said Grady Martin, the agency’s director of administration.

Follow Durrie on Twitter: @durrieB

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Emergency room patients shouldn’t have to worry about coverage – STLtoday.com

In the wake of Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield notifying Missouri plan participants that non-urgent emergency room visits would no longer be covered, the Post-Dispatch published an article (June 23) asserting that St. Louis residents use the ER too often for unnecessary care. Unfortunately, there were serious methodological flaws in their study. This policy from Blue Cross/Blue Shield may violate federal law regarding the national “prudent layperson” standard.

This standard requires insurance coverage be based on a patients symptoms, not final diagnosis. Anyone seeking emergency care suffering from symptoms that appear to be an emergency should not be denied coverage.

Burning in the chest may be heartburn; however as emergency physicians, we know not infrequently it actually ends up being a heart attack.

If you have an Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance plan in Missouri, be aware that nearly 2,000 diagnoses which the company consider to be non-urgent would not be covered in the emergency room. Heart disease, cancer, asthma, stroke, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia are among the top eight causes of death in the United States. All of these illnesses can cause life-threatening conditions that require emergency care.

Missouri participants need to fight for their right to have access to emergency care as protected by the “prudent layperson” standard.

Patients should be able to seek emergency care immediately without wondering if insurance will cover the ER visit. The vast majority of patients who come to the emergency department seek care appropriately.

Dr. Kristen Mueller St. Louis

Member, Missouri College of Emergency Physicians

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Patient, BBB seek change with Emergency Room "hidden charges" – FOX 46 Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) – Hidden charges at emergency rooms are causing transparency questions to be raised.

“Any other form of purchasing, people know what they’re paying,” patient Steve Komito said. “Somehow if you’re in the emergency room, you don’t have to know and I’m saying that’s wrong.”

Komito took his son to the Carolinas Healthcare Systems Emergency Room in Waxhaw this past Spring. X-rays were done but when Komito received his bill, he noticed a “room charge” for $1,244.44. Komito said, had he known about that charge up front, he would have taken his son elsewhere — adding, the X-rays were not even conducted in that general service room and they could have waited elsewhere.

“I guess my mission at this point is transparency,” Komito said.

Komito said, during his visit, someone with the E.R. told him they will not give pricing ahead of a visit because if the patient determines it’s too expensive and leaves — the E.R. will be held liable if something were to happen with their health.

The Better Business Bureau said it receives roughly 1,000 complaints a year for situations like this in the Greater Charlotte region.

“It’s not like going into a fast-food restaurant and seeing prices up on the board,” BBB’s Tom Bartholomy said.

FOX 46 Charlotte reached out to Carolinas Healthcare Systems earlier this Spring with a list of billing questions that have still not been answered. We sent them an email again on Friday and are waiting for a response. Here’s a portion of the email…

1.Will Carolinas Healthcare System give pricing information prior to service at the Emergency Room, upon request?

2.Does CHS stand behind this standard room charge and policy? When did this charge go into effect?

3.Weve heard talks about Level 3 and Level 4 E.R. room visit cases. What are the specific levels and what determines one of these levels?

4.What goes into the room charge? Is there a time limit a person has to be in there for a charge? A specific procedure? Does a doctor have to physically examine them? What warrants this charge?

5.Does CHS maintain that it will not release pricing prior to an E.R. patient being seen because it can be held negligent if the patients decides the cost is too high, and leaves without treatment?

FOX 46 Charlotte has now reached out to State Senator Tommy Tucker (Komito’s district) to see if he would be interested in any sort of legislation surrounding hospital charges being disclosed up front. Here’s a portion of that email…

Would Sen. Tucker support legislation demanding immediate transparency of ER pricing? As these bills are broken down into “Levels” — why can’t a patient know ahead of time the approximate costs of his service?

*This obviously does not include any additional testing that may be ordered or needed. But again, these prices – all pricing – is slotted ahead of time.

The Better Business Bureau told FOX 46 Charlotte there needs to be more transparency between E.R.’s and patients.

“If there’s going to be a basic charge for you for being in that emergency room no matter what you’re there for, then, yeah, why not?” Bartholomy added.

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New unit in UR Thompson Hospital aims to free up emergency room – 13WHAM-TV

A new 12-bed observation unit at UR Medicines Thompson Hospital will open next week. (Photo: Thompson Hospital)

Canandaigua, N.Y. (WHAM) – A new 12-bed observation unit at UR Medicines Thompson Hospital will open next week.

The space will be available to patients on July 12. The $2.1 million project is said to be the first of its kind in the Finger Lakes region.

The Observation Unit can accommodate patients at the hospital who need to be evaluated and treated in a short period of time.

In 2016, more than 27,000 Emergency Department visits were made to Thompson Hospital. Of these visits, approximately 7 percent resulted in an observation status.

The new unit will allow space to be freed up in the Emergency Department during peak times, such as flu season.

Now, patients who are low acuity and low risk will have a quiet, comfortable place geared specifically toward them where they can wait for the answers they need before returning in a timely fashion to the comfort of their own homes, said Dr. Ali Hamdan, Thompson Health Director of Hospital Medicine.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place June 30.

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Herman: How my drinking problem sent me to the emergency room – MyStatesman.com

I had a little (real little) medical incident the other day. All is well, and, more importantly, I did prove a medical theory of mine. This all stems from a drinking problem: Apparently, I dont drink enough.

I recently opined to friends and family that it is my semi-informed belief that before you reach the point of dehydration youll get thirsty. Kind of like youll get hungry before you starve. The body is a wonderful thing, equipped with all kinds of warning devices were free to ignore.

So it was fortuitous that I recently had the opportunity to test whether one indeed will get thirsty prior to getting dehydrated. Obviously, one has to reach the point of dehydration (which I maintain is beyond thirst) to run this test. So, in the name of research, I reached the point of dehydration. Youre welcome. And the short answer is yes, I did get thirsty before I was pushed on a gurney dehydrated into the ambulance.

RELATED: 10 tips for staying cool while running in the summer

This excitement went down when I couldnt get up last Saturday during a morning bike ride that started at 8 a.m. in Northwest Hills and ended in early afternoon in North Austin Medical Centers efficient (and well air-conditioned) emergency room.

Just over 28 miles into what would have been a 28.2 mile ride a routine distance for me and, lest you judge my mph, this ride included a leisurely breakfast stop at Sweetish Hill (and lest you judge my breakfast, it was eggish, not sweetish) fellow American-Statesman staffer and cyclist Ralph K.M. Haurwitz and I turned into Anderson High School to take a look at the new robotics building. After rolling by that, we dismounted to watch an inning of the adult baseball league game underway at the high school.

I felt a bit fatigued, hot and thirsty after a westbound, mildly uphill stretch of Steck Avenue, but nothing serious. Things got more serious when I tried to stand up and felt my field of vision narrowing like a curtain closing as nausea brewed within. I told Haurwitz to give me a few moments and Id be fine. I wasnt. I actually got less fine pretty quickly as seated on the bleachers advanced to prone on the ground. I still thought Id be OK, though I was pretty sure Haurwitz would not offer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation if needed.

So there was that.

Haurwitz quickly realized this was not going to end with me getting back on the bike and pedaling the few blocks back to my house. And I quickly realized I was on the verge of a Saturday nap. Dont get me wrong. Im pro-Saturday naps, but the scheduled, voluntary kind watching televised baseball in a comfy chair, not the unscheduled, involuntary kind watching live baseball prone on the ground.

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One thing led to another, though I dont remember all of them. Haurwitz later told me the real action began when he yelled Emergency! and called 911. Folks on hand for the baseball game gathered to help as I sat in a chair, apparently un- or semiconscious for a few seconds. (And here is where its OK for you to say, Oh, kind of like when you write columns?)

I recall some conversation, not including me, about the approaching ambulance. And I recall the two friendly and helpful EMS guys (I wish I got their names; thanks, guys) moving quickly to assess my situation by asking three questions, including one intended to shock my heart back to pumping if it had stopped:

Who is the president of the United States? he asked.

I answered correctly, somehow opting not to offer editorial comment. (Imagine the battery of psychological exams that would have ensued if, a mere three years ago, youd have answered that question with Donald J. Trump.) He also asked me what city we were in and, attempting to trip me up, added a math question: How many dimes in a dollar? Not bragging here, but I aced the exam.

They hooked me up to some fluids as I shared with them the coincidence of this happening a few days after my official pronouncement of my theory about thirst and dehydration. By the way, they agreed that youll get thirsty en route to dehydration.

I felt much better by the time we got to the hospital, where, shortly after being wheeled into a chilly ER treatment room, I quickly realized my next challenge might be frostbite. I got to meet lots of helpful ER folks, all of whom were affable and relaxed. Must be nice to go to work in your pajamas. They ran some tests and pronounced a diagnosis of dehydration and syncope. Id never heard of syncope until I saw it in the discharge paperwork.

You have been diagnosed with syncope (pronounced SINK-uh-pee). This is the medical term for a rapid loss of consciousness or a fainting episode. There are many causes of syncope. Some of these are life-threatening and others are not serious, it said, adding, Patients without life-threatening conditions may be sent home.

I was pleased to qualify for that. And I didnt need the hospital definition of dehydration. I know what that is. And I was correct. Its that thing beyond thirsty.

Now, having proven my point that youll get thirsty before you get dehydrated, Im working on my acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Friends, its hot out there. Youve probably not heard this from anyone, but, having road-tested this theory, let me recommend the introduction of orally administered liquids when youre thirsty. And sometimes water isnt enough. Electrolytes, yes. Alcohol, no (ever).

And, despite how you feel about it, endeavor to give the right answer, sans editorial comment, when a health care professional asks you whos the president of the United States. This is about your state of consciousness, not your state of confusion about how this particular president got to be this particular president.

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ER access shouldn’t be dictated by insurers – Columbia Missourian

Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BCBS), recently notified Missouri plan participants that non-urgent emergency room visits would no longer be covered. This policy is a clear violation of the national prudent layperson standard, which is codified in federal law.

The prudent layperson standard requires insurance coverage be based on a patients symptoms, not their final diagnosis. Anyone seeking emergency care suffering from symptoms that appear to be an emergency should not be denied coverage if the final diagnosis does not turn out to be an emergency.

If you have an Anthem BCBS health insurance plan in Missouri, be aware that nearly 2,000 diagnoses,which Anthem BCBS considers to be non-urgent, would not be covered if you visit the emergency room. Some of these diagnoses are symptoms of medical emergencies. For example:

Anthem BCBS plans to enforce this policy in Missouri this summer.

Missouri participants need to fight for their right to have access to emergency care as protected by the “prudent layperson” standard.

If you are worried that you might have an emergency, you should be able to seek emergency care without wondering if your insurance will cover your ER visit. The vast majority of patients in the emergency department seek care appropriately and often should have come to the ER sooner.

Dr. Jonathan Heidt is president of the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians.

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Avoid a 4th of July emergency room trip – KRISTV.com | Continuous … – KRIS Corpus Christi News

CORPUS CHRISTI –

For many Americans, the 4th of July is a day of patriotism, family celebration, barbecue, and, of course, fireworks. However, each year the fun ends with a trip to the emergency room for those who aren’t careful.

Last year fireworks accidents sent more than 11,000 Americans to emergency rooms.

The 4thof July holiday has earned a reputation as the most dangerous holiday in the U.S. Jennifer Carr, theTrauma Program Managerat the Corpus Christi Medical Center says 4th of July related activities and fireworks bring a lot of people into the ER.

It is actually more common than you think. We see a lot of injuries with adults, and we also see injuries with children. We see injuries due to fireworks. We see burns to faces, hands, and eyes due to fireworks,said Corpus Christi Medical Center Trauma Program Manager Jennifer Carr.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The injuries skyrocket around this time of year. More than 230 people on average end up in the ER with fireworks-related injuries every day in the month around July 4th.

If somebody gets injured from a firework, you definitely want to get them to the closest emergency department. Call 911, especially if it is an injury to the face or eye. Typically a burn such as a sunburn is a first-degree burn. Anything that is more than a first-degree burn needs to beevaluated by a physician. Anything that causes the skin to open up or not stay intact anymore needs to be evaluated. Burns can scar and require lots of treatments infollow-up phases, said Carr.

Even with seemingly harmless sparklers, parents should use great caution and think twice before handing them to children.

Take it seriously. Realize that fireworks can cause injuries, and always have adult supervision even with sparklers. Children need to be supervised. Sparklers can reach a temperature of 2000 degrees, and so we see lots of injuries of children with fireworks. A lot of those is because of lack of adult supervision, said Carr.

Before use:

During use:

After use:

While following these tips will help, sometime injuries happen. The most common areas of the body that are injured tend to be the hands, fingers, eyes, head and face, mostly with burns. If your child gets inured, considering the following:

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Who pays when someone without insurance shows up in the ER? – USA TODAY

Right now, GOP senators are trying to gather enough votes to pass their Obamacare replacement plan, but even fellow Republicans are having a time a hard time accepting the health care bill. USA TODAY

An ambulance arrives at a hospital emergency room.(Photo: PhotoDisc)

WASHINGTON If an uninsured patient shows up in the emergency room, who pays? The hospital? Taxpayers? The patient? Other patients?

The question is important as Republicans debate health care legislation that could result in more than 20 million fewer Americans having health insurance in ten years.If that happens, some people will go without care. Others will show up at hospitals, but wont be able to pay their bills.

The year the Affordable Care Act passed, hospitals provided about $40 billion in “uncompensated care” that is, care they were not paid for.That was nearly 6% of their total 2010 expenses.

A 1985 federal law requires emergency departments to stabilize and treat anyone entering their doors, regardless of their ability to pay.

But that doesnt mean the uninsured can get treated for any ailment.

Theres lots of medical care we want to consume thats not an emergency, said health care economist Craig Garthwaite, an associate professor and director of the health care program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

It also doesnt mean that hospitals wont try to bill someone without insurance. And the bill they send will be higher than for an insured patient because theres no carrier to negotiate lower prices.

As a result, the uninsured are more likely to be contacted by collection agencies, as they face problems paying both medical and non-medical bills. One study, published in 2016 by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that someone who goes into the hospital without insurance doubles her chances of filing for bankruptcy over the next four years.

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For the bills that go unpaid, hospitals can try to compensate by charging other patients more. But that doesnt happen as much as many people including policymakers — think.

The authors of the ACA believed thatincreasing insurance coverage through Medicaid and subsidies for private insurance would lessen the cost-shifting that leads to higher insurance premiums. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts also mentioned that benefit in the 2011 decision he authored upholding the laws constitutionality. But researchers havent been ableto document much of a cost shift.

Studying the effects of expanding Medicaid in Michigan where more than 600,000 gained coverage researchers at the University of Michigan havefound no evidence that the expansion affected insurance premiums. They did, however, document that hospitals uncompensated care costs dropped dramatically by nearly 50%.

Conversely, when Tennessee and Missouri had large-scale Medicaid cuts in 2005, the amount of care hospitals provided for free suddenly increased. In a 2015 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Garthwaite and his co-authors estimated every uninsured person costs local hospitals $900 in uncompensated care costs each year.

This is not a trivial thing for a hospital to deal with, Garthwaite said. While hospitals average 7% profit margins, uncompensated care costs can be more than 5% of revenue.

Hospitals do get help with the unpaid bills from taxpayers.

The majority of hospitals are non-profits and are exempt from federal, state and local taxes if they provide a community benefit, such as charitable care. Hospitals also receive federal funding to offset some of the costs of treating the poor.

The ACA scaled back those payments in anticipation that hospitals’ uncompensated care costs would go down. The GOP proposals to overhaul the ACA would reinstate the payments, while making changes to Medicaid and private insurance subsidies that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates would result in more than 20 million fewer people having insurance by 2026.

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The return of extra federal payments to hospitals for uncompensatedcare wouldnt be enough to offset the unpaid bills, according to an analysis by the Commonwealth Fund. The study examined the Medicaid changes included in the bill that passed the House in May, and co-author Melinda Abrams said the effects of the Senates pending proposal would be at least as great.

Hospitals operating margins in all states would decline. And hospitals in most of the 31 states which expanded Medicaid under the ACA would have negative operating margins by 2026, according to the analysis.

Ultimately, you have to cut services, fire people, or both, Abrams said. It is shifting the burden of the cost. What is currently shared between the federal government and state governments will be shifted largely to the states. And the burden will be felt by the providers, the patients, the community and the taxpayer.

Pressure from hospitals was often a factor in states decisions to expand Medicaid under the ACA. In some states, such as Indiana, hospitals even agreed to a pay new taxes in exchange for the additional federal revenue from Medicaid patients. Most of the recent decline in hospitals uncompensated care costs has been in states which expanded Medicaid.

And hospitals are among those fighting hard against GOP efforts to phase out the expansion and cap overall Medicaid payments to states.

If these proposed cuts take place, devastation would occur for local rural economies due to hospitals closing and patients incurring huge amounts of debt, Trampas Hutches, CEO of Melissa Memorial Hospital in Holyoke, Colo., said at one of the many events organized by the American Hospital Association and other health care providers in opposition to the GOP bills.

One reason Medicaid has been harder to cut than other safety-net programs such as welfare cash payments is that a large part of the spending is a transfer to health care providers, Garthwaite argues. Thats particularly true for hospitals which are essentially insurers of last resort when there are large coverage gaps.

When policymakers decide not to provide health insurance for a portion of the population that otherwise could not afford insurance,” Garthwaite and his colleagues wrote in their 2015 analysis, “hospitals ultimately bear the cost of that decision,

As President Donald Trump continues to push his agenda of repealing and replacing Obamacare, Americans are not on his side about this. Susana Victoria Perez (@susana_vp) has more. Buzz60

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Fourth of July tales from the emergency room – ABC News – ABC News

Summer is in full force by the time Fourth of July weekend rolls around every year — and so are the opportunities to injure oneself.

Doctors who have worked in the emergency room during the holiday weekend told ABC News that they often see the same types of incidents every Independence Day, including sunburns, poison ivy rashes, underage drinking and fireworks injuries.

But that doesn’t mean they haven’t treated some out-of-the-ordinary cases as well.

Here are some Fourth of July tales from the emergency room:

Jamie Coleman, a trauma surgeon at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, said the bomb squad had to be called in for one of the “craziest” cases she’s ever seen, which happened on a Fourth of July weekend.

The incident involved fireworks that were the largest consumers in Indiana could buy without needing a license, Coleman said.

While the firework was being lit at a backyard party, one of the explosive mechanisms — a metal ball about four inches in diameter — misfired, Coleman said. Instead of launching the firework into the air, the metal ball came out of the side of the firework and became lodged inside the patient, she said.

Since the explosive did not detonate, it still had the potential to explode, and the bomb squad had to be present during the man’s emergency surgery to remove it, Coleman said.

“They’re there to protect it and ensure that it doesn’t go off once they’ve removed it, ensuring the safety of everyone in the operating room,” Coleman said of the bomb squad’s role.

As soon as the explosive device was removed from the man’s body, doctors “very carefully” handed it to the bomb squad, who then disposed of it safely, Coleman said.

“This stuff is so crazy sometimes — what we do and see,” Coleman said. “You just can’t even make it up.”

A couple of years ago, a Fourth of July prank lead to a trip to the emergency room for a group of teenagers in New York City, said Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital on the Upper East Side.

During a party, the teens adorned a cake — which was decorated festively for Independence Day — with sparklers. But, one of the sparklers was actually a firecracker, Glatter said.

After the blast, the group took an Uber to the emergency room, where they were treated for minor injuries such as facial abrasions and a ruptured eardrum, Glatter said.

When the teens arrived at the hospital, they were covered in cake and red, white and blue icing, because they didn’t think to stop and wipe it off before they left, Glatter said.

None of the teens suffered eye injuries, since they were already wearing goggles so they could spray champagne on each other, Glatter said. Eye injuries are typical in accidents involving firecrackers, Glatter said.

The blast effect from the firecracker was probably lessened since it was lit outdoors, Glatter said. Had it exploded inside, the pressure from the blast effect could have led to more serious injuries such as ruptured bowels or a collapsed lung, he said.

Last year, a teen about 14 years old had to be medically evacuated from northern Michigan to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grant Rapids after he fell into a campfire, said Erica Michiels, associate director for the hospital’s pediatric emergency department.

First responders had initially reported to doctors that the teen was “burned black” and sustained surface burns to more than 30 percent of his body, causing his family and emergency physicians to fear the worst, Michiels said.

When the boy arrived, “he had soot all the way up to his waist,” Michiels said. Hospital staff got him to the emergency room to wash him off and to better see the burns, but they weren’t there.

The teen merely had one burn the size of the palm of his hand near his ankle, Michiels said.

“The rest was just soot from falling into the fire,” she said.

The boy’s parents may have over-inflated the sense of danger because he was “screaming and yelling and floundering around” after he fell into the campfire, Michiels said.

“I think his anxiety was contagious and made everyone think … he must be really, really injured,” she said.

The boy’s family and the healthcare professionals looking after him were all “relieved” when they realized his injuries weren’t so serious, Michiels said, adding that the medical staff “learned a lesson” that day to not get too carried away before they have a full understanding of the patient’s injuries.

Michiels saw another incident last year in which parents panicked a bit too prematurely.

A “terrified” mother brought her infant into the emergency room the day after Independence Day because she thought the baby had contracted “some sort of horrible infection,” Michiels said.

The cause for concern: bright blue poop.

The mother brought doctors the baby’s diaper in a Ziploc bag, and when they opened it, the “sweet, fruity smell” was “overwhelming,” Michiels said.

The family had been at a picnic the day before, where someone had brought a big bowl of blueberries, which the baby had never had before, she said. The infant “loved” the fruit and ended up eating a handful.

“When babies eat fruit, it passes through their system fairly quickly,” Michiels said. “You wind up with this sweet-smelling, dark-colored poop.”

Michiels said parents should only be worried if poop is white, black or red.

“All other shades of poop are usually OK,” she said.

Fireworks are best left to professionals, Coleman said, adding that every year she amputates fingers due to fireworks accidents.

Even the most seemingly innocuous items, such as sparklers, are a cause for concern, Coleman said. Sparklers can reach up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, and physicians see sparkler burns almost every Fourth of July, Michiels said.

“Just the quickest touch to a child’s hand will give them a pretty significant burn,” Michiels said.

Glatter advised that people celebrating watch the amount of alcohol they imbibe, which, combined with setting fireworks off or swimming, could be a “perfect recipe for disaster,” he said.

Another safety concern to keep in mind is monitoring children near water at all times, Michiels said, adding that every Fourth of July, she tends to see at least one patient who has drowned.

During a pool party or beach outing, there are usually several adults around but not one particular person who is looking after the kids, she said.

“We often see a drowning event of a child where there were many, many adults right in the vicinity who could have rescued that child had they known the child was in trouble,” she said.

Michiels said a common misconception is that if you don’t hear anyone yelling for help, everything is fine.

“In truth, drowning is almost always a silent event,” she said. “You can’t hear someone calling for help because the person who is floundering is doing everything they can to get that breath in. They don’t have that extra energy to call out for help.”

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Hospital Ends Agreement to Have Off-Duty Police in Emergency Room – KARK

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A footprint in town, means you have history to share.

CHI St. Vincent’s history dates back more than a century to 1888.

“We’re here to protect and take care of people,” says an emergency room staffer.

The Emergency Room employee, who asked we hide their identify, knows things change over time.

“Something’s got to be done to keep it safe. It could be anybody that something happens too,” the employee says.

The staffer says about two months ago, the hospital ended its agreement to keep an off-duty police officer in the Emergency Room.

“If something starts going down–we have to get to the appropriate phones, call 911 and wait for back up to get there,” the worker says.

St. Vincent officials say they have a full-time security team and the off-duty police officers were only working ‘a few hours overnight each night’.

The staffer says overnights are primetime for problems.

“A patient has charged an area of the desk where they could’ve gotten to the staff and they were said to be quite threatening and very abusive and even threatening to hurt staff,” the employee says.

St. Vincent Hospital officials provided a prepared statement:

“Our Environment of Care and Workplace Safety committees are made up of coworkers from multiple divisions, including Nursing and Security. Those committees are involved in re-evaluating our security protocols in order to maintain the highest level of safety possible and ensure we are allocating resources where needed most.

As part of an ongoing evaluation, we determined it would be more beneficial at this time to focus resources on how to improve security throughout the hospital. The off-duty police officers who were previously contracted by us were only located in the Emergency Department and only for a few hours overnight each night. So, we are in the process of implementing additional security measures for all of our departments on all of our campuses.

We continue to have an excellent relationship with law enforcement in every community we serve. Those partnerships, in addition to an active, full-time security team, help us ensure the safety of patients and coworkers.”

“Just keeping an eye out for what’s going on, who’s going where,” the staffer says.

While CHI St. Vincent has a full-time security team, the Emergency Room employee says the guards are not armed.

A Little Rock Police spokesperson says off-duty officers provide armed security in the Emergency Room at Baptist Health and Children’s Hospital. UAMS has its own separate police force.

See the article here:
Hospital Ends Agreement to Have Off-Duty Police in Emergency Room – KARK

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