Medicine: Rating for Emergencies

If a family member is injured or becomes critically ill at home, a standard response is to carry him to the car and head for the nearest hospital. That could be a mistake, says Dr. Oscar P. Hampton Jr., chairman of the A.M.A.'s Commission on Emergency Medical Services, in the A.M.A. magazine Prism; the nearest hospital may not be the best in the long or even the short run. Hampton proposes a system of classifying hospitals according to the emergency services they can offer; those with a top rating would be able to handle the most severe, life-threatening situations. The classification...