Use of Civilian Emergency Departments by Israel Defense Force Soldiers
A.D. Cohen, A. Porath, R. Bessorai, A. Shulman, Y. Snir
Medical Corps, Israel Defense Forces; Depts. of Medicine F and Orthopedics and Emergency Dept., Soroka University Medical Center and Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheba
Many physicians, civilian as well as in military, feel that some referrals of soldiers to civilian emergency departments are inappropriate and that soldiers should receive medical attention within their military units. We therefore evaluated referrals of soldiers to our emergency department.
707 referral letters from military physicians and the corresponding emergency room discharge letters were evaluated. Most soldiers were referred for mild trauma (45.0%) or miscellaneous diseases (52.9%); 22 (3.1%) were hospitalized.
It appears that some military physicians use the civilian hospital emergency department as a surrogate for an out-patient specialty clinic and for x-ray and laboratory services. This is in contrast to the designated functions of the emergency department which are to provide emergency and trauma services and to evaluate the need for hospitalization of referred patients.