Time and Resource Constraints in the Emergency Department

Hospital emergency departments (EDs) treat individuals with acute illness and injury and manage the response to local mass casualties. They also serve a host of patients—insured and uninsured—who use the ED for nonurgent, primary care because doing so is faster, cheaper, or more convenient than scheduling an appointment at a clinic or private practice. Twenty-four-hour demand on its comprehensive treatment capability strains the ED’s resources and presents its physicians with a distinctive set of ethical quandaries that this month’s authors investigate. 

Volume 12, Number 6: 435-516 Full Issue PDF