It may not sound like ideal health care, but here's a solution to crowded emergency rooms: Move patients to medical wards, even if their beds have to be in a hallway.
Some hospitals are trying it, and a study will be presented tomorrow at a meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians.
Dr. Peter Viccellio (vih-CHEL'-ee-oh) is an emergency room doctor at Stony Brook University Medical Center on Long Island, New York.
His hospital has used the "hallway protocol" since 2001. He's analyzed statistics for 2,000 patients and found they weren't harmed by a short stay in a hospital hallway.
Hospital officials nationwide are being urged to consider hallway medicine as a way to ease crowding in emergency departments.