Most emergency departments short on surgical specialists
Inadequate coverage by surgical specialists plagues most U.S. emergency departments, according to a study published in the journal Academic
Emergency Medicine. In a survey the authors believe is the first to poll a national sample of emergency-department directors, 74% responded that they experienced inadequate on-call coverage by specialists. The percentage was lower among teaching hospitals (68%) and geographically highest in the South (81%). More than 60% of respondents reported losing around-the-clock coverage in at least one specialty in the past four years; the problem was most common at hospitals in the Northeast (75%) and the South (66%). More than a quarter of respondents said their current on-call coverage was unreliable. The specialists hardest to secure were trauma surgeons, neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons and hand surgeons.