COVID-19 hospitalizations put pressure on Springfield emergency rooms, increasing wait times for patients

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – As hospitals in Springfield face an increase in hospitalizations from the coronavirus, they are also facing an increase in the number of people seeking care in emergency rooms.

Staff at Mercy Hospital are reporting 129 hospital patients with COVID-19, which hospital officials say is the highest number they have seen. As more people show up for emergency care, this impacts emergencies and creates longer wait times.

Brandon Shalander waited with his mother in Mercy’s ER for ten hours. Shalander says it’s not a hospital problem but a community problem.

“You can’t work with one person a lot,” Shalander says. “You can’t do what you can do with so many people and I think they were at and over that line with what they were dealing with.”

Shalander took her mother to Mercy’s ER when she started to have chest pain.

“With each passing hour, I wondered why she wasn’t seen by a doctor,” Shalander says. “Don’t they think it’s serious? Is it serious and they just can’t reach it? “

Shalander says the number of patients he saw in the emergency room when he entered scared him.

“I’ve been to the hospital a lot,” Shalander says. “I went there when it was very busy. I was there when we had to wait. It was certainly the worst in 37 years that I can remember seeing it. “

Vicki Good, executive director of emergency trauma care at Mercy, said they are doing everything possible to provide patient care as quickly as possible. This includes performing tests while patients are in the waiting room.

“While you are waiting there we start all of your care so that when you get to the back you can see a doctor or a provider where they can quickly make a decision as to whether you should be admitted or not.” , said Good.

Good says the hospital is overwhelmed with the number of COVID-19 and trauma patients arriving at the emergency room. If it is a minor illness, Good says to contact your doctor first. Good says the long wait is just as annoying for staff as it is for patients.

“We want to provide this care to these patients,” says Good. “That’s why we got into this profession, it’s to be able to take care of people. So when we can’t do the best job we know we have to do it, it leads to increased stress and burnout. The things our team do are simply heroic. “

Shalander’s mother was tested in the waiting room and released, which is not considered a critical case. Shalander asks people to give nurses patience.

“From everything I saw, the nurses and helpers and everyone, they were just completely stretched out to their maximum capacity,” Shalander says.

CoxHealth and Mercy both say that if people get vaccinated, it will take the load off the emergency room and reduce long wait times.

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About Linda Stewart

Linda Stewart

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