Walker says existing judicial and academic opinions seem to suggest that the standard of care for physicians is sufficiently flexible to accommodate any reasonable medical decisions made in response to overcrowding. However, she also warns that liability issues may be more complex for hospitals than physicians.
In a related commentary, Jane Upfold provides an emergency physician's perspective on the challenges of weighing the potential harms of having patients diverted to another hospital against those of accepting critically ill patients and possibly jeopardizing the care of patients already in the overcrowded emergency department.
p. 445 Emergency department overcrowding: patient diversion and the legal duty to care
-- J. Upfold
p. 465 The legal duty of physicians and hospitals to provide emergency care
-- A.F. Walker