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Emergency room strain felt by First Responders

Hospitals imploring the community to only visit if it is an emergency
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 7:30 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Emergency rooms are over loaded all across central Alabama. UAB Hospital stressing not to come to the hospital unless completely necessary, in particular don’t visit searching for a COVID test. They ask you visit an Urgent Care facility or your daily physician.

DCH Health posting a similar request to their social media channels.

First responders are now witnessing the strain our health care heroes are under.

“It is frustrating, it is like ‘Here we go again.’ We are back to where we were during our peak numbers last year,” said Rocky Ridge Fire District Assistant Fire Chief Michael Bartlett.

The “wall time”, what fire fighters call their wait time is up considerably due to the surge of Omicron.

“When you enter the ER and let them know that you are there, they don’t have a place to put you so they tell you just to wait on that wall. So the patient sits on our stretcher, under our care, just sitting next to a wall. That is why we call it wall time.”

That time normally takes between twenty and thirty minutes, and it has gone up considerably in the last six months.

“When the spike hit we began to go back up again. Until the spike goes down or hospitals internally make some changes to be able to get these patients in, the problem doesn’t go away. We’re back up to about an hour of wall time, so it has about doubled from our norm.”

Assistant Chief Bartlett hopes to see the surge settle down, but in the meantime is urging residents to only go the hospital in case of an emergency. If it is not an emergency see your daily physician.

“We have got to go in to some alternative planning to continue taking care of our public because we can’t tell them there is a wait when they call 911.”

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