Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Medical Homicide?

This weeks New England Journal of Medicine has an article and editorial regarding decreasing the amount of time from "door to balloon" for the heart attack victim. This means doing everything possible to open up the diseased corornary artery as quickly as possible.

Of note, the Journal states, "In addition, a recent ruling by a coroner's jury in Illinois provides an additional sobering reminder of the potential implications of treatment delays (for heart attacks). In that ruling, the jury found the death of a patient who had spent nearly two hours in an emergency department waiting room before proper diagnosis and treatment of a heart attack constituted a potential homicide."

Logic would also dictate that a jury could come to the same conclusion if pre hospital care, prior to the emergency department "door", were slowed in any way for the heart attack victim.

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