Midland Memorial ER Woes From Flu Rush 1/22/13
From wait times to insufficient space west Texans sounded off.
Dozens of complaints to the station and the local paper describe the experiences visitors had at Midland Memorial Hospital. Many say it’s just too crowded.
Bob Dent, The Vice President of Patient Care Services hears the criticism first hand.
He says part of the problem is too many people coming in with what they say is the flu.
“We just moved into this beautiful building (The Scarborough Tower) and about the same time there's an increase in influenza happened,” he said.
He says less than 10 percent of these visitors test positive for the flu.
“We haven't had a lot of people come in with the flu, but people coming in with flu like symptoms,” he said.
Before last month the hospital staff saw around 135 visitors a day now they are seeing around 200.
This comes in the middle of moving locations, Dent says the hospital had two emergency rooms and moved into one ER that was larger than both.
“The community expects greatness out of Midland Memorial and we're going to deliver,” he said.
The problem is that the new emergency room is still under construction and only half of the room is available.
Dent says the hospital wasn’t ready for flu season to come so early, but they are hiring more staff for the season.
“As soon as the volume goes back down,” he said, “The temporary staffing goes away as well.”
He say they are also have a new system to better serve their visitors instead of signing in, there will be a triage staff to see a patient up front.
“We’ll have additional providers for the front desk in the triage area so patients can be seen a little quicker,” he said.
They ask visitors to be patient while the third phase of construction is finished. Also, call 68-NURSE before going to the ER. A local nurse is available to evaluate your symptoms and give information on where to go.
“It getting better every day,” Dent said.
Dr. Dent says they pride themselves on a low wait time in the emergency room. Before the move, he says the average wait time was 30 minutes.