As an American ED doc, there are a lot of tests I do just to cover myself from potential litigation. If we're in crisis, I imagine a lot of those are going to go out the window. But what happens 2 years down the road when the dust has settled and people start trying to sue for the things that we missed? Can we push for some legal coverage at the federal level? Can we push to suspend EMTALA?
Edit: I've seen at least 5 people today that didn't need any actual medical care. Finger lacs that didn't even penetrate the skin, diarrhea for 2 hours, etc. These people are likely to keep coming, even in crisis mode (possibly fewer of them, but they'll still come). What I mean by suspending EMTALA is that we are still required to see, evaluate, and document on these people because that is what is required by a medical screening exam. Could we get to a point where we are just allowed to tell the diarrhea guy that we don't have time for him (and not examine, not document, etc)?
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