Why do they advertise ERs on billboards?

This falls into the category of things that baffle me…  Driving along I-355 in Chicago I noticed a large billboard advertising some local hospital.  The gist of the ad was that there is no waiting in their ER.  Now, this was maybe 3 hours ago but I already forgot the name of the hospital.  And what value does that billboard provide?  If I’m heading to a hospital’s ER, it is because I’m either hurt real bad or I’m in the back of an ambulance.  In either case, I’m heading to the closest damn hospital.

What is the biggest difference between an ambulance and a taxi? You can’t tell the ambulance where to take you.  It’s going to the hospital it services.

And if I’m heading to a hospital any other way, I’m going to the closest hospital I know and not to the hospital I have to Google the directions to, hoping to remember the name of that one place that promised no waiting in their ER.

So, dear hospital, the one that advertises on I-355 whatever your name may be, please save your money and try to direct your advertising budget towards things that really matter to your patients, things like making sure that saving lives does not cost an arm and a leg in the end.

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6 Responses

  1. These days, the ER is often where you get sent by your health care provider for a relatively minor complaint that occurs when your primary care physician is not available and has no coverage arranged. If the closest hospital ER has a 6 hour wait for non-critical cases, why not drive a few extra miles to the one with no wait?

  2. And, if you happen to live between two hospitals, as I do, the ambulance WILL ask you which one you want to go to. I know, they asked me! I was glad since one of them is a piece of garbage and you’re likely to die there even if you only walk in with a splinter in your foot.

  3. BUT, I do agree with you, that it is silly to advertise. My only preference is from experience, not a billboard!

  4. Really? The only time I’ve ever been in an ambulance (not because of me) they never asked. Knock on wood, I won’t find out if things have changed any time soon, too.
    I’d rather they advertised that they will take my insurance, be covered 100% and heal me in the process.

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