New Zealand: Massive Alcohol Problems Among ED Patients
The Australasian College of Emergency Medicine said a snapshot survey of 20 hospital emergency departments showed one in six patients had gone to the ED with alcohol-related problems. In Australia the figure was one in seven.
The college’s president-elect, John Bonning, of the Waikato Hospital emergency department, said it’s not getting any better.
The 2am snapshot would have predominantly been people that were grossly intoxicated, they’re very labour intensive, they’re frequently abusive to staff, they sometimes physically abuse staff and then vomit all over the place.
They both take resource away from some of the patients that could be considered slightly more deserving and they scare some of them.”
He said young people are over-represented in this, but it affects all ages.
Harm to others and society at large
Alcohol-related hospital admissions illustrate the impact of alcohol on the health of a population. And it shows that the harm goes beyond the alcohol consumers themselves, negatively the ambulance and ED staff, other hospital patients, straining and draining the resources of the health care system and burdening society with high costs.