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Doctors call emergency care ‘national disgrace’

90 percent of states get poor, near-failing grades in nationwide report card

December 19, 2008
by Alex Johnson and Tracie Potts
MSNBC

The nation's emergency care system is "a ticking time bomb," with demand far outstripping the capacity of hospital emergency departments already crippled by a widespread shortage of doctors and nurses, according to a national report on the state of emergency medicine.

The annual report card by the American College of Emergency Physicians gave the nation a D- grade for Americans' access to emergency care, saying the emergency care system was "fraught with significant challenges and under more stress than ever before."

The report, which was issued Tuesday, was one half of a double whammy for America's state and local emergency officials. The same day, the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation declared in a separate study that the United States was underprepared for a major disaster, such as a biological attack or a pandemic.

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