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According to a study, which was conducted by seven doctors affiliated with Harvard University and the Cambridge Health Alliance, a network of nonprofit Massachusetts hospitals, emergency room waiting times rose 36% for all patients and 150% for heart attack patients. An increase in the number of ER visits, plus a decline in the number of emergency rooms, likely has contributed to the wait. However, no one is really sure why heart attack patients have an even longer wait.

Robert A. Lowe, a physician and director of the Oregon Health & Science University’s Center for Policy & Research in Emergency Medicine, commented that the study “is not surprising; it’s worrisome.” “What it reflects is that as access to care outside the emergency department deteriorates, the emergency department is one of the few safety nets through which everyone has access to care.”

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Medical Malpractice and Negligent Care.

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