Monday, November 23, 2009

Uninsured Patients Twice as Likely to Die in the ER

We're often told by those who oppose health insurance reform that "everyone has access to health care." By this, they mean that everyone must be treated in the emergency room. Of course, by the time someone goes to the ER, it's an EMERGENCY, and often one that might have been prevented with routine care. It's also going to be an enormous bill for treatment.

As for the outcome, a new study shows that uninsured patients in the ER are twice as likely to die:

Uninsured patients with traumatic injuries, such as car crashes, falls and gunshot wounds, were almost twice as likely to die in the hospital as similarly injured patients with health insurance, according to a troubling new study.

The findings by Harvard University researchers surprised doctors and health experts who have believed emergency room care was equitable.

That this study shocked doctors and researchers should tell us something. People who don't have insurance do not get quality health care, even in the event of an emergency:

"I'm really surprised," said Dr. Eric Lavonas of the American College of Emergency Physicians and a doctor at Denver Health Medical Center. "It's well known that people without health insurance don't get the same quality of health care in this country, but I would have thought that this group of patients would be the least vulnerable."

The study was unable to pinpoint why the uninsured are twice as likely to die in the ER, just that this frightening discrepancy exists.

In the study, the overall death rate was 4.7 percent, so most emergency room patients survived their injuries. The commercially insured patients had a death rate of 3.3 percent. The uninsured patients' death rate was 5.7 percent.

cross posted at workingamericablog

1 comment:

DissedBelief said...

This is true Susan and thank you for posting the actual stats. When I worked ER I saw patients turned away bleeding because the hospital has a "quota" of how many uninsured it will handle. What part of "for profit" do people NOT GET? This is what being "liberal" and socialist" means. It means taking care of your neighbors, friends and fellow citizens. It means being kind, altruistic and caring. It means being truly pro-life and not a hypocrite. It means being civilized. Vote Hate Vote Racist Vote Republican!