The American College of Emergency Physicians sponsored a media event today in the Rayburn building in our nation’s capitol. Congressman Bart Gordon (D-TN) and Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX) spoke to the gathered print and network media, introducing the Access to Emergency Medical Services Act. The act will be sent to the House of Representatives tomorrow. ACEP President Brian Keaton served as master of ceremonies for the event, introducing the speakers and presenting the ACEP perspective on the bill. Ladies’ Home Journal editor-in-chief Diane Salvatore spoke to crowd, describing the magazine’s commitment to access to emergency medical care. Tomorrow she will present to Congress the 7,000 petitions collected by the magazine over the past year, asking for more support for emergency medicine.
Elizabeth Kobb, of New Jersey, was one of the people who filled out the Ladies’ Home Journal petition. In it, she told the story of her daughter’s twelve hour ordeal in an emergency department. Today she joined the press conference with her daughter, telling their compelling story to the press. Her daughter, dehydrated and vomiting, waited in a hallway bed more than 8 hours to be seen by a physician. She then waited about 4 more hours for an inpatient bed. Finally, at her mother’s insistence, the patient was discharged home. The story could have happened in many emergency departments across the country, and that is the message that Ms Kobb and her daughter want to take to Congress.
Tomorrow Ms Kobb will have her chance. ACEP is urging people to go to the web site at http://www.acep.org/ and send a message to Congress to support the Access to Emergency Medical Services Act.
Next time I’ll detail the particulars of the bill. Until then, stay safe……