MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Providence Everett triages emergency room as staff shortage tightens

Jun 28, 2022, 4:07 PM | Updated: Jun 29, 2022, 4:08 pm

Photo by RJ Sangosti...

Photo by RJ Sangosti

Medical Centers in the Seattle metro area are struggling with patient loads and Providence Everett has had to close its emergency room to ambulances for a short time Monday, June 27.

Providence Everett’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jay Cook says that hasn’t happened in years. The Emergency Room made sure other hospitals could take the ambulance patients.

“We need time to catch up, just to allow patients in the waiting room to be discharged or moved to a different ward, but this is the first time we’ve had to do this in years,” Cook said.

A Casey Calamus, a spokesperson for the hospital said in a statement to KIRO Newsradio that the emergency room is working at capacity and the hospital is full.

“We are seeing a lot of patients come to the Emergency Department for a variety of issues,” Calamus wrote. “While at the same time experiencing staffing challenges resulting from the pandemic, burnout, lack of a national talent pipeline, and nearly 100 patients at Providence Everett who are medically stable but do not have a safe place in the community to be discharged.”

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Providence Everett says it has close to 100 patients who could be discharged but there are no rehab centers or other appropriate places in the community where they can go which exacerbates the problem.

Dr. Cook says area medical centers coordinate urgent care, but expect long waits in emergency rooms if the condition is not urgent enough to warrant immediate care saying they’d been “limiting non-urgent procedures, in the operating room for months” trying to deal handle the shortage.

Staffing shortages, a backlog of procedures delayed by the pandemic, and a shortage of rehab beds have strained all local medical centers.

Cook says we could see increased limits on patient care throughout this summer as accident-related injuries spike with more people outdoors enjoying the sunny weather.

 

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