ER's overloaded, patients diverted to other hospitals - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

ER's overloaded, patients diverted to other hospitals

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – East Texas hospital emergency rooms have been slammed with an unusual amount of patients for weeks. Some ERs have had to divert patients to other hospitals.

Janise Robinson is one of many East Texans filling up ER rooms, "I'm in misery."

"I came by ambulance. They told me it was a four-hour wait in the ER. I couldn't sit up for four hours," says Robinson.

Dr. Ryan Menard of University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, says his ER staff has been slammed for weeks. He says most patients have flu-like symptoms, he's also seen several bronchitis cases, "We're seeing a very high amount of the winter illnesses."

"We're seeing a lot of patients diverted here," Menard says, "Part of it's a problem inside the hospital itself and there's no room to put patients sometimes emergency rooms will have to divert."

ETMC says they diverted patents for three hours on Wednesday. Maxxed out ERs mean longer wait times.

Robinson says "The ambulance driver told me that he's taken patients to Mother Frances and set them up in the waiting room. They're not letting them in the ER.

As doctors scramble to stay afloat, more patients are rushed in by ambulance.

Dr. Menard says it's a sign that this isn't slowing down.

Doctors say if you have flu-like symptoms, the best place to be treated is a clinic or your family doctor—not the emergency room.

Art Chance, ETMC Tyler Vice President of Operations released the following statement:

"Every hospital in East Texas is experiencing extremely high volumes of patients with many of them coming into the hospital through the emergency department. ED wait times have been longer for some patients depending on the severity of their illness.

Some area hospitals will go on ‘divert' which means the hospital has exhausted their resources and must turn away patients being transferred or transported to their facility. ETMC Tyler rarely goes on divert but this week both ETMC and Trinity Mother Frances went on divert. Some patients were sent to UTHCT while both Tyler hospitals had to balance the flow of patients between them based on patient request.

While this is our busiest time of the year, it is very unusual for ETMC to go on divert.  Since the beginning of the year we have only had six hours of divert and three of those happened on Wednesday.  It is so rare that for 2010 we were on divert for only 54 hours. 

The emergency department is many times overused as a healthcare option.

This time of year we are seeing a lot of patients with upper respiratory and flu. We would like to ask patients to try to see their regular physician at a clinic or visit ETMC South Broadway and only come to the hospital if it's an emergency."

John Moore, Public Information Officer for Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics released the following statement:

"This time of year sees a rise in the number of people seeking treatment for winter-related illnesses.  This increase leads to longer wait times in the emergency room.  We encourage patients who are suffering from non-emergency illnesses, including the flu, to seek treatment from their primary care physician or facilities specifically designed to treat these types of patients, including the Trinity Mother Frances DirectCARE locations in Canton, Lake Palestine, Lindale and Tyler.  However, if you are experiencing a true medical emergency or you are not sure if your situation is an emergency, please do not hesitate to come to one of Trinity Mother Frances' Emergency Care Centers in Tyler, Jacksonville or Winnsboro."

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