Millions of Americans live nowhere near a hospital, jeopardizing their lives

Jessica Thompson, registered nurse
 Living 
August 07, 2017 | 03:06 pm / zdroj: inStory.net
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As a nurse practitioner, Wanda Liddell knew it was a medical emergency when she saw one of her patients struggling to breathe last month.

But in her backcountry town of Cross City, Florida, the ambulance took 30 minutes to arrive. Even worse, it was another 45 miles to the nearest hospital. Liddell faces this situation often and always wonders, what if? She is one of many medical providers working in towns 30 miles or more from a hospital, a distance that can make the difference between life or death. 

The recent debates over the Affordable Health Care Act raised concerns that millions of Americans could lose access to health care. But already, there are many Americans who live in areas where critical-care services are lacking.

A recent study estimates that nearly 30 million Americans don't live within an hour of trauma care. And a CNN analysis found that residents living in 16% of the mainland United States are 30 miles or more away from the nearest hospital. Dr. Jeremy Brown, director of the National Institute of Health's Office of Emergency Care Research, said treatments for heart attacks and strokes are most effective when done quickly.

"Every minute that you can get the patient into treatment sooner will represent some brain cells that are saved," he said. In fact, the rate of accidental deaths -- adjusted for age -- was nearly 50% higher in rural versus urban areas from 1999 to 2015, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says distance to emergency rooms was a key factor.

◼ Editorial / inStory.net
Topics: hospital, lives
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