Reducing Emergency Department Length of Stay

Case Summary - A middle-aged woman injured her wrist during a fall. She went to the emergency department (ED) but left without being seen by a clinician after waiting 4 hours. Three days later, she returned with continued wrist swelling and pain but was worried that another long wait could cause her to be late for work. She wondered if her primary care physician’s next available appointment in a month would be sufficient to address her injury. She was eventually seen and diagnosed as having a scaphoid fracture. A splint was placed and a follow-up appointment was made with an orthopedic surgeon. The total ED length of stay was 6 hours. The patient was concerned that her delay in receiving treatment may have long-term consequences for her physical function and made a complaint to the hospital.

What Should Be Done Next?