NPR logo Don't Miss: U.S. Emergency Rooms in Crisis

Don't Miss: U.S. Emergency Rooms in Crisis

With my first cup of coffee this morning, I noticed the Washington Post headline "Crisis Seen in Nation's ER Care," and then the story became real with Joanne Silberner's voice on the radio. She visited the emergency room at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where she saw patients who had been there 10 hours and a woman who had waited 9 hours for a prescription refill (her local free clinic couldn't see her for two weeks).

Joanne followed Dr. Art Kellerman, chairman of emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and a practitioner at Grady, through his own long night of frustration. Not enough staff and not nearly enough beds and the ER department is losing money. The ER doc's advice? "Be assertive. Tell the triage nurse exactly what your problem is." Kellerman adds, make sure the doctors don't forget about you.