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Emergency Medical Care

October 16, 2005 | Steve Lopez
The call comes in at 11:18 in the morning. Possible overdose on skid row, just half a block from one of the busiest firehouses in the United States. Firefighter-paramedic Dave Chavez, 42, grabs a blank incident report and marches toward his Rescue 9 ambulance with partner Juan Penuelas. At 11:20, they pull out of the station, and Chavez is taking in the devastation on San Julian Street in downtown Los Angeles.
September 26, 2005 | Emily Singer, Special to The Times
A nail-biter of a baseball game might be all it takes to cure minor ills, at least temporarily. New research shows that visits to the emergency room plunge during key games. "We saw amazing drops in visitation to ER departments in Boston when the games were really important, like Game 7 [of the American League Championship with the Red Sox] against the Yankees," says John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School who led the study with colleague Ben Reis.
September 22, 2005 | David Pierson, Times Staff Writer
Nearly two months after Downey Regional Medical Center announced that it might close its emergency room because of the rising costs of caring for uninsured patients, hospital officials said Wednesday that they might keep the doors open after all. The private nonprofit facility has been losing money -- especially since its agreement with Medi-Cal, the government health program for the poor, ended more than a year ago.
June 8, 2005 | Jia-Rui Chong, Times Staff Writer
Last Christmas, a 5-year-old girl was shot in the chest during drive-by shooting in front of her house in West Covina. She needed the specialized care of a trauma center. But there is only one such unit in the San Gabriel Valley, and it could not accept the girl. Worried that summoning an emergency helicopter for a ride to a trauma center in Los Angeles would take too much time, police officers carried her to their cruiser and drove her to the nearest hospital.
April 15, 2005 | Jia-Rui Chong, Times Staff Writer
The number of uninsured patients visiting private emergency rooms jumped by a third in the last five years as overcrowded public hospitals turned away patients, according to a newly released study. The report is the first to quantify how many uninsured patients have turned to private hospitals, a trend that hospital officials say is largely responsible for the closure of nine hospitals and emergency rooms across Los Angeles County in the last few years.
November 23, 2004 | Jia-Rui Chong, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles County's four public psychiatric emergency rooms have been overwhelmed in recent months by a surge of patients, causing doctors and nurses to frequently recommend that patients be taken elsewhere. The psychiatric ERs have seen 16% more patients in the last year. Some officials believe the increase was caused in part by the closure of seven private hospitals in the past 18 months, reducing the number of beds reserved for psychiatric patients.
November 16, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Santa Cruz County trauma patients will be treated at Stanford University Medical Center after San Jose Medical Center closes next month. With the San Jose hospital expected to close Dec. 1 because of financial troubles, health officials had proposed cutting off emergency services to patients from other areas. To make sure patients weren't turned away, Stanford agreed to increase the number of doctors and nurses available for emergencies, add beds and expand space.
November 13, 2004 | Steve Hymon, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles County health officials on Friday made their most detailed defense of the plan to shutter the trauma unit at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, saying that few patients with critical injuries would have to travel farther to receive care.
November 12, 2004 | Jia-Rui Chong, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles County officials and community activists disagree sharply about the reasons behind frequent diversions of ambulances from the trauma center at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center in the last four weeks. Since Oct. 16, the trauma unit has been closed to ambulances 81% of the time, causing critically injured patients to be diverted to other hospitals. Patients arriving by other means have been treated.
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