Scary story...from Phoenix, AZ the closest neurosurgeon was in San Francisco...BD 

In an emergency room situation the seconds between arriving, diagnosis and treatment can determine whether a patient lives or dies. But a study released today by the Center for Studying Health System Change suggests the nation's hospitals have a severe shortage of on-call specialists.

"It's becoming apparent that the specialist on-call issue for emergency rooms is becoming more and more of a problem," said Dr. Ann O'Malley of the Center for Studying Health System Change.When Richard Nordmeyer suffered a stroke last year, there was no neurosurgeon in all of Arizona, New Mexico or Nevada who could answer the urgent calls to treat him.It took eight hours to find a qualified surgeon, who was located in San Francisco. It cost $45,000 to fly there, and the bill was charged to the couple.

Hospitals believe they have found a cure for what ails their emergency rooms. They have added the on-call specialists to their regular payroll.

ABC News: Situation Critical: ERs Face Doc Shortage


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