A longer trip to the ER

    Northeastern Hospital in Philadelphia is shutting down its emergency services, and ambulances will have to take patients to hospitals several miles away. (Photo: Flickr/Fetchy)

    Philadelphians who relied on Northeastern Hospital for emergency care will soon be detoured to other hospitals. WHYY’s health and science reporter Kerry Grens reports on whether the extra distance makes a health difference. (Photo: Flickr/Fetchy) [audio:sci20080326er.mp3]

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    Patients in northeast Philadelphia will need to travel several more miles to reach an emergency room after the hospital shuts down its ER June 30th. University of Pennsylvania emergency medicine professor Brendan Carr says for the most part, that additional travel time to other hospitals in the city should not endanger patients needing immediate medical care. The bigger problem, Carr says, is choosing the right hospital.

    Carr: There is a small subset of diseases that are time critical, and that you need an intervention rapidly, and not all facilities can offer those interventions.

    Carr says choosing the most appropriate hospital for patients in those situations is something that the healthcare system has not yet figured out. He added that most people don’t worry so much about how far away other hospitals are, but whether they trust those new hospitals and feel at home in their care.

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