Angling for donors, hospitals give VIP emergency treatment

Community VIPs--very important patients--may be getting preferential treatment in hospital emergency rooms (ER) in order to secure donations or other help to the institution at a future date, reports MSNBC.

Non-celebrity VIPs will often get to see a physician significantly quicker than a patient with a similar ailment, although they are usually not admitted over those with more serious injuries.

"Somebody calls and says so-and-so is coming in, can you make sure they get good care," said ER physician A.J. Smally of Hartford Hospital and the University of Connecticut. "We bump them up a notch. If everyone is waiting four hours, they might just wait one hour."

In a letter published in the most recent issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine, Smally claimed that more than half of Connecticut's emergency department directors said they routinely provide the service, which is known as "expedited care."

Those who get preferential treatment are usually relations to the hospital's board of directors or administration, or those who are significant donors to the facility or are perceived as being one down the line.

Another study of ER doctors performed for MSNBC indicated that 84 percent of them would give extra attention to such VIP patients.

To learn more:
- read the MSNBC article

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