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Everyday J.: Emergency Department “Superusers” 

Everyday J.: Emergency Department “Superusers”
Everyday J.: Emergency Department “Superusers”
Legal and Ethical Issues in Emergency Medicine

Chadd K. Kraus


Commonly defined as having greater than four emergency department (ED) visits in a year, patients who are frequent users of the ED make up an estimated 3.5% to 10% of all ED visits and have been reported to account for nearly a third of all ED use. Frequent ED users have higher mortality, higher hospital admission rates, and higher use of all health care services, both specialty and primary care, compared to other patients using the ED. These patients should have the autonomy to access ED evaluation and care if he or she believes he or she has a medical emergency. This principle has been codified into both federal and many state laws protecting the “prudent layperson standard.” These patients should not be coerced to not seek ED care if the person believes he or she has an emergent condition.

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