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Flu, economy lead to longer wait times at ER

Posted January 16, 2009

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— Doctors at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center say the flu season and the crippling economy are causing longer waits in the emergency room.

Hospital officials say they are seeing between 350 and 420 patients a day. Some of those patients have to wait up to 12 hours for care.

“When the hospital beds fill up, we are holding people in the emergency department who need to be upstairs,” said Dr. John Reed. “When I’m holding people in the emergency department, that’s fewer beds to treat people coming in, so wait times happen.”

Along with flu season being in full swing, Reed said the bad economy is causing more people to seek care at the hospital. People who lose their jobs and health insurance cannot go to their regular doctors when they are sick.

To handle the increase, Reed said, the hospital is putting beds in hallways and calling in more staff.

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  • veyor Jan 16, 2009

    This is what is called "universal" health care. There's not a person in America that is refused health care. There's just honest, hard working people that pay for themselves and everybody else.

  • scarletindurham Jan 16, 2009

    Yay, all the uninsured flock to the hospital to get their sniffles taken of, and it's about 3k just to get in the door.. raising premiums for the rest of us. Thanks, guys!

  • christineswisher Jan 16, 2009

    How could there BE any longer wait times in the ER - it's a joke and needs a remedy, but what???

  • godukebasketball Jan 16, 2009

    If you have the flu or some minor ailment, go to an urgent care and save yourself a lot of time (and money).

  • Angry Independent Jan 16, 2009

    It's going to get more and more expensive, while the private insurance industry apologists continue to decry any concept of universal coverage.

    What they fail to comprehend is that this concept is already in place, in the private industry, for large employer health plans. They have guaranteed access with shared risk and costs are averaged.. It just needs to be extended to private individuals.