Stretcher blockade in the emergency room: what does it mean? What consequences for ambulance operations?
‘Stretcher blockade’ (or stretcher blockade) is the undesirable condition in which the Emergency Department or the Department of Emergency of a hospital, no longer having beds available to accommodate people transported by ambulances, starts to care for patients directly on ambulance stretchers, as if they were hospital beds
In simple terms, the serious patient arriving at the emergency department, instead of being moved to a bed (which is unavailable), remains on the stretcher that had transported him in the ambulance.
Stretcher blockade synonymous with emergency room overcrowding
This situation is undesirable both because it presupposes a certain overcrowding of the emergency department (which leads to a lengthening of intervention times, especially for less serious patients), and because it makes it impossible for the ambulance to return to operation, leaving the area temporarily without a rescue vehicle and forcing the ambulance and its crew to wait in the spaces outside the emergency department until the ambulance is returned.
Stretcher blockage is a typical situation in maxi-emergencies and disaster medicine, i.e. in all those situations in which a large number of patients suddenly present themselves at an emergency room, e.g. in the event of serious road accidents, explosions, train accidents, plane crashes, earthquakes.