About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star
Stafford’s ER is quicker
Since Stafford Hospital Center has been open for almost three months, maybe it’s fair to point out that the emergency room there is quicker than the one at Mary Washington Hospital.
At Stafford, the average patient will walk out the door 2.5 hours after entering. At Mary Washington’s emergency room, the average door-to-door time is closer to 3.25 hours.
Comparisons between the two ERs are imperfect. Mary Washington is much bigger and busier than Stafford. Mary Washington sees something like 300 people a day and has maybe 200 to 250 workers. Stafford treats maybe 80 patients a day and has maybe 50 workers.
Also, since it’s a trauma center, Mary Washington often treats the seriously injured, some of whom were transferred there because Stafford was not set up to deal with them.
Even so, it makes sense for some patients to choose Stafford. If the patient’s illness or injury is not life-threatening, and they can get to Stafford almost as easily as Mary Washington, maybe they should go to Stafford. Perhaps MediCorp Health System officials could keep a current posting on their Web site, showing the wait time at each hospital so patients could choose.
It’s like the checkout at the grocery store, where two registers are open, one with a short line and the other with a long line. Which one would you choose?