Article Abstract

What we can learn from Medicare data on early deaths after emergency department discharge

Authors: Sukayna Z. Alfaraj, Jesse M. Pines


A recent study published in February 2017 in the British Medical Journal examined how more than 10,000 Medicare beneficiaries—with an average age of 69 years with no obvious life-limiting illness—fared in the 7 days after being discharged from U.S. emergency departments (EDs) over 6 years. The primarily finding was that 0.12%—or 12 in 10,000 people—had died, primarily from atherosclerotic heart disease, myocardial infarction, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. About 2% died from narcotic overdose, primarily after visits for musculoskeletal problems (1).