When an increased patient load began to overwhelm our hospital’s emergency room, we initiated a triage system to ensure that the most critical people were treated first. However, some of the less seriously ill patients occasionally had to wait as long as several hours before they could be seen. Complaints were common.
One day, trauma cases abounded, and the wait was particularly long. A police officer came in and approached the unit clerk. "I hate to tell you this," he said apologetically, "but we just got a 911 call from your waiting room."