In limbo: Why patient transfers between hospitals needs improving
A few weeks ago, a patient came into the emergency department in a rural hospital in Ontario, after a family member witnessed him collapse and performed CPR. The emergency doctor ordered an electrocardiogram. It suggested a heart attack but the changes could have resulted from the CPR. Plus, the patient was coughing up blood, which meant he could be having another issue.
The doctor called a central switchboard, CritiCall, which facilitates discussions between doctors at smaller hospitals with doctors at hospitals that can provide a higher level of care. But both the cardiologist and internal medicine specialists who were contacted thought the patient should be transferred to each other’s department. The back and forth phone calls took four hours.
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