Local News

Cape Fear Officials Want To Help Patients In Timely Manner

Posted April 23, 2003

— When you do not feel well, waiting in the emergency room is the last thing you want to do. After receiving complaints, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center is hoping to speed things up.

Cape Fear Valley's emergency room is often so busy, patients are treated in beds right in the hallway. Teresa Howery is in one of those beds with a kidney infection. She said she was taken care of in a timely manner Tuesday, but that was not the case the last time she had to come here.

"You definitely need privacy when you are feeling bad," she said. "It took awhile to be seen."

Hospital officials said they are seeing more patients than they have room for. Cape Fear Valley Medical Center is often on diversionary status because it has no beds available in the main hospital, which backs things up in the emergency room when patients are waiting to be admitted.

Officials say some waits have been as long as 10 hours. Leaders openly acknowledge the long waits in the emergency room are a problem. They have even posted signs urging staffmembers to explain the delays to patients.

The hospital is in the process of trying to ease the pain by expanding the emergency room. They hope additional beds will give patients more privacy and cutdown on the time they stay in the emergency room.

"We'll have 11 more rooms, more capacity to see more patients, but that's a short-term solution," said Clinton Weaver, of Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

Hospital officials say what it really needs is a new, larger emergency room. A long-term strategic plan with those details will be presented to the hospital board this summer.

For the first time in history, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center is on track to see more than 100,000 patients this year. The temporary construction fix could be finished as early as December.


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