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The pros and cons of short emergency room waiting times

One of the biggest problems people face when they go to the emergency room is that they have to wait too long. It may be an emergency to you, but that doesn't mean you get care right away.

The Government Accountability Office found that people who were supposed to be seen in a maximum of 14 minutes based on their conditions actually waited an average of 37 minutes. That's more than twice as long, and that's just the average -- meaning that, for every person who is actually seen in the "max" of 14 minutes, someone else isn't seen for well over 37 minutes.

The investigation also looked at those who were supposed to get immediate care in under 60 seconds. The average wait time was a staggering 28 minutes.

However, shorter wait times -- which hospitals now sometimes advertise to draw people in -- aren't always good. Experts warn that hospitals may be tempted to take shortcuts or rush through jobs just to get the wait time down from 37 minutes to 14. While their intentions may be good, that type of rushing can lead to errors, omissions and overall negligence. Giving someone faster care could mean that they also don't get the level of care that they expect and deserve.

If you or a loved one has to go to the ER, your situation may be made worse by excessive wait times or mistakes made by doctors and other medical professionals who are in a rush. Either way, if you believe that is the case, you need to know what rights you have to compensation when facing complications and rising costs.

Source: Market Watch, "10 things emergency rooms won’t tell you," Jonnelle Marte, accessed Feb. 07, 2017

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