Local News

Flu, economy lead to longer wait times at ER

Posted January 16, 2009 6:44 a.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2009 8:46 a.m. EST

— 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.