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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pediatrician blogger comments on ER overuse

"Flea," a Boston-area pediatrician who is the author of drfleablog, comments today on Liz Kowalczyk's story in Sunday's Boston Globe about state efforts to reduce the use of emergency rooms by patients with non-urgent illnesses:

"Here's the problem: Overuse of emergency services for non-emergent complaints educates parents and their children that non-emergent conditions require emergency level of care. Thus when a toddler in my practice goes to the E.D. with cold symptoms and gets an I.V. (true story from last night), the parents learn that colds deserve I.V.'s

"Once the lesson is taught, it's friggin' hard to unlearn. Flea knows that E.D. docs have a lot on their plates. If they can find the strength to do so, could they please help us educate patients not to go to the E.D. for minor complaints?"

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