Future / Trends

Labor shortage at hospital emergency rooms

Hospital emergency rooms across the U.S. are increasingly unable to find on-call specialists to treat seriously injured and ill patients. The shortage is most acute for neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons and obstetrician/gynecologists. Causes: Fear of malpractice lawsuits; a reluctance to go without pay when seeing uninsured patients; unwillingness to disrupt their private lives and private practices. Some hospitals are paying certain specialists stipends to be on-call. Others use telemedicine as a workaround. — The Washington Post (21 December 2007)

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