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Women wait longer for hospital emergency room care than men, study finds

Women wait longer for hospital emergency room care than men, study finds
Women experience longer wait times than men in U.S. hospital emergency rooms, according to a new study. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 18 (UPI) -- Women wait longer for care than men in hospital emergency rooms, a study published Wednesday found.

On average, women patients coming into the emergency room wait 12 minutes longer to be evaluated and treated, data published Wednesday by JAMA Surgery showed.

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Men wait an average of 2 hours, 52 minutes for care, while women wait an average of 3 hours, 4 minutes, the researchers said.

Women also have to wait about three minutes longer than men to be "triaged," or evaluated and prioritized for care in the ER. On average, they wait 52 minutes to be triaged, compared to 49 minutes for men, the data showed.

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The "results of this ... study suggest that female patients were found to have a significantly longer [ER] lengths of stay after a traumatic event," the researchers from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago wrote.

In addition, they "were less likely to be discharged home or to a home equivalent than male patients," they said.

Previous studies have found that women of all races and ethnicities, as well as people of color, have longer wait times than White men in hospital ERs when seeking treatment for chest pain.

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These longer wait times could increase the risk for death among those affected, depending on the nature of their health emergency, research suggests.

Researchers have attributed these longer wait times to bias among healthcare workers, and say they perpetuate inequities in treatment quality.

The findings of this study are based on an analysis of data for more than 28,000 U.S. adults treated for serious injuries such as broken bones and/or head trauma in hospital ERs over a three-year period.

RELATED Long emergency room waits may raise risk of death

Just under 30% of the patients included in the study were women, though the women patients generally had more serious injuries than the men, the data showed.

Once treated in the ER, women were 28% more likely than men to be discharged to a nursing home or long-term care facility, as opposed to home, compared with men, the researchers said.

"These findings suggest potential gaps of care that may be excellent targets for quality improvement of existing processes of assessment and triage and discharge planning," they wrote.

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