Saturday, September 24, 2005

"Big Game" = Low ED Volume

From ABC News:

Physicians at Children's Hospital Boston, who collected data from emergency rooms in Boston during the Red Sox's run to the World Series in October 2004, found that patient volume dipped significantly during the most important postseason contests.

The authors used the Nielsen television ratings to determine the magnitude of a sporting contest: the higher the rating, the more important they considered the game. The findings, published in today's edition of Annals of Emergency Medicine, indicate that the games with the highest Nielsen television ratings — Game 4 of the World Series and Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, both of which were series-clinching contests for the Red Sox — were associated with lower emergency department volume than games with lower television viewership.

Based on their data, the authors believe that one can predict how busy an emergency room will be based on how "big" the game is. This does not come as a surprise to many emergency medicine physicians, who have found they see far fewer patients in their hospitals at times when there is a major sporting event being played.

"That seems to hold true in many occasions," said Dr. Guillermo Pierluisi, an emergency medicine physician at the Medical College of Georgia. "Folks with nonemergent conditions — sometimes even those with emergent conditions such as chest pain — tend to wait until the televised event is over to visit the emergency department."


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