If somebody in your family has broken a leg in an accident, you’re not going to delay heading to the emergency room while you look up hospital waiting times online.
But the well-prepared can do it ahead of time.
ProPublica, a non-profit journalism operation, has crunched the numbers reported by hospitals to the federal government and posted them in an easy to navigate database online at http://projects.propublica.org/emergency.
The numbers for emergency rooms in the Midlands aren’t likely to steer you away from or toward any particular facility. And these are averages in a field where every day is completely different from the previous days. Still, the database is worth perusing.
Here’s the abbreviated takeaway:
One possible use of the database is to determine if you would get quicker help by driving past your closest emergency room to one farther away. Based on the numbers in the Midlands, the answer is no.
The numbers for hospitals in surrounding counties – Newberry County Memorial, KershawHealth, Aiken Regional Medical Center and Tuomey Healthcare System in Sumter – also are similar. If fast treatment is the key, people in those counties are better off sticking close to home.
The four slowest times to see a physician in South Carolina are in the Pee Dee – McLeod Regional in Florence – and in the Upstate – Anmed Health in Anderson, Greenville Memorial and Spartanburg Regional.
The average waiting times at South Carolina’s emergency rooms is longer than the average for most other states. In most categories, the state ranks in the 30s among the 50 states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. South Carolina barely gets in the upper half in speed of being hospitalized, ranking 24th.