Hospitals: Boom in Emergency Rooms

The biggest boom in U.S. medicine does not involve antibiotics or even contraceptive pills; it is the fast-growing popularity of hospital emergency rooms. Across the country they are flooded with an unprecedented number of patients. Since the end of World War II, the number of emergency-room admissions has jumped 500% , although the number of accident patients — formerly the bulk of all emergency-room cases — has remained stable at about 35 million a year. The U.S. public, says Manhattan's Dr. Robert H. Kennedy, director of a John A. Hart ford Foundation study group, is rapidly turning hospital emergency...

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