Does ER still mean Emergency Room? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Does ER still mean Emergency Room?

April 7, 2006

Albany -- If you've been to a hospital emergency room, you know it's no day at the beach. Doctors says the average patient can wait up to four hours and longer just to seek medical attention.

They say people with non-emergencies are filling up emergency waiting rooms. So what can be done?

A trip to the ER used to be for emergencies only, but not anymore. "There's no relief in sight. It's bad," said Palmyra Doctor Dr. Gregory Walter.

In his 25 years of working in the ER, Dr. Walter has seen it all. "Recently somebody took an ambulance for the emergency room for loose toe nails."

And it's those non-emergencies that are clogging up the ER, causing not only frustration among doctors. "Sometimes you just shake your head," the doctor says.

It's also frustrating for patients like Tod Brasswell. "A lot of folks say 'Well, I'm sicker than this person, or I got here before this person did.'"

Brasswell oversees the daily operations inside Phoebe's ER, and says there's a reason hospitals stay busy. "This is the only access a lot of people have to health care. They don't have regular doctors. Some of them don't have insurance."

"That has basically overwhelmed the system. And the cost gets past down to whomever," said Dr. Walter.

So hospitals in Albany are doing something about the problem. "We try to redirect them so that we keep emergency patients going into to one area, non emergency patients going into another area," Brasswell said.

In 1996, Phoebe began construction of urgent care facilities to relieve much of the overcrowding in its emergency room. "We've saved roughly $13 million annually by having convenient cares," says Phoebe's Jackie Ryan.

Palymra doctors try to treat patients with serious injuries first. "We try to make sure that people that really need our services get our services quickly," said Dr. Walter.

He has worked in more than 60 hospitals and says things are even worse elsewhere. "Out of all the emergency rooms I've worked in my career, this is probably the fastest turnaround time of any place I've seen."

And that's good news to patients who depend on the two hospitals for their services.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says more than 100 million Americans receive ER care, up 600% since 1958.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=ER/Gaskins


  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Thomasville featured in Southern Living for Christmas charm

    Thomasville featured in Southern Living for Christmas charm

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 3:47 PM EST2017-11-22 20:47:40 GMT
    If you've picked up the latest edition of Southern Living, you might notice a South Georgia town in the spotlight. (Source: WALB)If you've picked up the latest edition of Southern Living, you might notice a South Georgia town in the spotlight. (Source: WALB)

    If you've picked up the latest edition of Southern Living, you might notice a South Georgia town in the spotlight. Thomasville has a 14-page spread featured in the magazine. 

    More >>

    If you've picked up the latest edition of Southern Living, you might notice a South Georgia town in the spotlight. Thomasville has a 14-page spread featured in the magazine. 

    More >>
  • Travel period begins, GSP talks safety on the roads

    Travel period begins, GSP talks safety on the roads

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 3:43 PM EST2017-11-22 20:43:48 GMT
    Georgia State Patrol Troopers are cracking down on distracted and drunk drivers this holiday season. (Source: WALB)Georgia State Patrol Troopers are cracking down on distracted and drunk drivers this holiday season. (Source: WALB)

    Millions of Americans hit the roads on Wednesday, headed to their Thanksgiving destinations. Gas stations in Albany were busy with customers filling up their tanks and tires before their journeys.  

    More >>

    Millions of Americans hit the roads on Wednesday, headed to their Thanksgiving destinations. Gas stations in Albany were busy with customers filling up their tanks and tires before their journeys.  

    More >>
  • Valdosta organization celebrates 'Day of Caring, Sharing and Giving'

    Valdosta organization celebrates 'Day of Caring, Sharing and Giving'

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 3:43 PM EST2017-11-22 20:43:34 GMT
    Thanksgiving dinner will be served from 10 a.m.  to 2 p.m at St. John AME Church. (Source: WALB)Thanksgiving dinner will be served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m at St. John AME Church. (Source: WALB)

    Kemet Universal said Thursday will be a 'family affair' as it prepares for its Thanksgiving Feast at the St. John AME Church in Valdosta.

    More >>

    Kemet Universal said Thursday will be a 'family affair' as it prepares for its Thanksgiving Feast at the St. John AME Church in Valdosta.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly