Allyn Rippin

From Emergency Room of the Future
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I'm a newly minted grad student in Architecture, Culture and Behavior.

An ER is a designated area where people with critical (and often not-so-critical) injuries and ailments come to seek immediate treatment. People arrive in various states of physical and emotional (and perhaps economic) distress. Wait times are notoriously long and tedious.

Today's class confirmed that the ER is a revolving door of people with a broad spectrum of complaints and injuries. The ER staff really does see it all. It is interesting that two people with the exact same symptom (i.e. fever) can be in vastly different states of medical need. I'm curious about the process of triage--who gets treatment when. Jeremy helped dispel a few myths about what really goes on in the ER--"patients" who go into cardiac arrest on The Show are revived 70% of the time, whereas in real life it amounts to 5% or less.

Often on ER The Show we see a scenario where an individual becomes outraged that another individual has apparently received preferential treatment. How commonplace is this? Is there a design solution to ameliorate this? Make ER room more hierarchical or at least as a disguised hierarchy? In a similar vein, I'm interested in the idea that an individual's pain and suffering is very much his/her own, and the urgency and sense of entitlement that comes with it. Tricky placing a value/hierarchy on something so intensely personal and subjective.

Came across this disturbing article on yahoo today (8/20) about a mental patient who died after waiting 22 hours in an ER. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080820/ap_on_re_us/patient_death. How did this happen?