restricted access System Failure: No Surgeon To Be Found

A woman admitted to the emergency room of a hospital died because no surgeon could be found to stop the bleeding from injuries she sustained in a farming accident. The case points to ethical shortcomings both institutionally and professionally. The call system is inadequate, and physician fears of being sued or insufficiently compensated contribute to the overall problem. Potential responses include the institutional equivalent of a root cause analysis and an understanding of the pressures brought to bear on physicians to treat emergencies.