Long waits at emergency rooms due to staffing, bed shortage

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 7:41 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2021 at 10:16 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Patients waiting for emergency room care are seeing nearly 24 hour waits at both Covenant and UMC, but this trend is happening across the country.

Medical director of Covenant Emergency departments Michael Chamales said it’s due to a mix COVID-19 patients using beds for longer than an average patient, on top of the usual flow of patients, while dealing with a staffing shortage.

“We have, you know, our normal routine number of patients that we see, plus COVID-19, plus this dramatic decrease in our nursing staffing across the country, which has really contributed to this, this long wait,” Chamales said.

To get care sooner, first evaluate your symptoms.

“If their head’s cracked open or whatever, you know, those patients are going to be dealt with immediately. And same thing with with a COVID patient, if the COVID patient comes in, most of them require immediate treatment,” Chamales said.

Officials recommend going to the emergency room if you are experiencing, pain in in an uncommon area, uncontrollable bleeding, high fever or major symptoms such as head injury, paralysis, severe eye injury.

Chamales said they are doing everything they can.

“It’s not a matter that we don’t want to take care of you, you know, we’re your we want to take care of you, that’s our job, that’s what we do. The fact of the matter is, we simply have no place to put you, you know, and if, you know, if we don’t have room to take care of you, unfortunately, we, you know, we simply, we simply can’t,” Chamales said.

List of Covenant Urgent Care rooms can be found here.

List of ER Locations can be found here.

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