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Tired of waiting for hours at the emergency room?

Emergency rooms serve as the front lines in the world of medicine. Many (most?) visits to ERs are not emergencies at all, but rather, routine visits by people with limited access to health care. As a consequence, waiting for hours to be seen is not uncommon. Forced to take all patients, the ER raises the “price” by making you wait.

So the next time you need to visit the ER, let’s hope it is during the Super Bowl, World Series, or other popular sporting event. At least that is what a Harvard study found. You can also read about it here. ER visits fall 5-15 percent during big Red Sox games.

Actually, it’s surprising to me the numbers don’t fall further. This suggests to me the uninsured are not big Red Sox fans.

One big caveat if you take my advice and break an ankle watching the Oakland A’s in the World Series: the authors measure the quantity of people visiting the ER, not the wait time. It may be the case that more doctors and nurses play hooky on those days (or sneak off to a back room to catch an inning here or there) so that your actual wait time goes up, not down.

As for the Oakland A’s. It doesn’t look like they are making the playoffs this year.

(Thanks to Gernot Wagner and Paul Schreiber for passing along these links.)