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Resource ID: #25375
Subject: Hospitals
Source: WREG-TV (Memphis, Tenn.)
Date: 2011-08-04



"Parking Patients" examined the amount of time hospitals in the Memphis area were taking to assume custody of patients brought to their emergency departments by city ambulances. In hundreds of cases we found patients were spending hours strapped to ambulance stretchers, waiting inside emergency departments for hospital staff to sign off on the transfer of care. In the meantime, city paramedics were tied up waiting with the patients and unavailable to answer other emergency calls. We found dozens of cases in the last year in which the city ran out of available ambulances to answer these calls, and had to rely on private companies to fill the gap, sometimes resulting in longer response times. The fire department blamed these shortages on the practice of hospitals using paramedics as "free labor."

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