The etiology of medical gridlock: Causes of emergency department overcrowding in New York City

E. John Gallagher, Stephan G. Lynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Scopus citations


Overcrowding of emergency departments in New York City is the most apparent symptom of a crumbling health care system. There is a growing need for the care of a largely impoverished population suffering from an increasing prevalence of AIDS, substance abuse, and psychiatric disease. Institutions crippled by critical shortages of inpatient beds and nurses lack the resources to meet this rising demand. Although the epidemic of medical gridlock began in New York City, it is spreading rapidly to involve other areas of the country. Short-term efforts to resolve this crisis have thus far been unsuccessful. Long-range solutions are likely to be costly and may require a reconfiguration of societal health care priorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-790
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1990



  • AIDS
  • New York City
  • gridlock
  • nursing shortage
  • overcrowding
  • poverty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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