Washington: When a medical emergency strikes, instinct tells us to go to the nearest hospital quickly.
But a new US-based study suggests that busier emergency centres give the best chance of surviving - especially for people in a life-threatening crisis. The higher the number of patients a centre treats, the better the outcome.
Analysts found that patients had a 10 percent lower chance of dying if they went to the busiest emergency departments compared to the least busy.
For instance, people with sepsis had a 26 percent lower death rate, lung failure patients had a 22 percent better rate.
"It is too early to say that based on these results, patients and first responders should change their decision about which hospital to choose in an emergency," said Keith Kocher from the University of Michigan.
"But the bottom line is that emergency departments and hospitals perform differently, there really are differences in care and they matter," Kocher noted.
Their results do not give insights into why the differences in survival occur - but for the first time, they show that they occur, so that further research can probe deeper.
The findings appeared in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.