National News

Hospital to open nation's first mobile emergency unit

Posted January 31, 2018 11:57 a.m. EST

— As the flu epidemic continues to plague Atlanta, Grady Memorial Hospital is responding by setting up a mobile ER unit to assist the growing number of patients.

A Grady official says the emergency department is seeing historic levels of patients exhibiting flu or flu-like illness. On a typical day, the emergency room sees about 400 patients. With the recent outbreak of flu cases, that number has risen to 500.

There have been nearly 700 flu-related hospitalizations and 27 flu-related deaths here in metro Atlanta. 20 of the deceased were victims aged 65 years or older. The remaining five were aged 51 to 64.

115 people were admitted to Georgia hospitals with the flu from January 14-20.

For the next 30 days, the unit, which is the size of a tractor-trailer, will sit outside the E.R. It has 14 beds and will be open 24 hours a day.

The unit is owned by a company out of Charlotte, N.C. and it's normally used after disasters or put on sites during hospital renovations but this is the first time the mobile emergency room has been used here in Georgia.

Doctors will begin seeing patients at the mobile unit on Tuesday.