Emergency rooms are intended for short-term care. Say a child comes in with a broken bone. She'll have it set, get a cast and some pain meds, and be sent on her way with an appointment for follow-up care.
At the University of Vermont Medical Center’s emergency room, most children average less than four hours in the ER before they are sent home or admitted for specialized care.
But for children suffering from mental health emergencies, the ER is more like a windowless purgatory. It’s a secure place to wait for a bed to open up someplace else — often 150 miles away, in Brattleboro.