Albany -- There are nearly half day waits at most emergency rooms right now. Hospital E.R.'s are one of the few choices people have for health care during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, trying the patience of the doctors and the sick alike.
An elderly patient from a nursing home with a clogged tube arrives by ambulance at the Emergency room at Palmyra Medical Centers. All the rooms are full of patients already, so Dr. Greg Walter goes into the ambulance to treat the patient. He knows it will be quicker, and that is the big factor on this day after Thanksgiving. The Emergency room waiting area is full of patients.
Dr. Walter said, "We are the only place for them to go. There are people who don't belong at the emergency room, but have no health care, because they have no insurance and no money."
Palmyra's E.R. is seeing thirty percent more patients today than usual, and the holiday has contributed to the problem. "We get a lot of out of towners. People who are chronically ill from out of town, visiting relatives. Probably shouldn't have driven four hours to come," Dr. Walter said.
The wait time this afternoon was at least four hours, and Walter says it will get worse during the Holiday Friday night, because many people will celebrate to extreme.
Walter said, "Doing 20 years of Thanksgiving, usually what we see is a few brother-in-laws that don't get along, and they get into a fight and they're drunk."
Dr. Walter says if you have to go to the emergency room tonight, bring your patience, and expect a long wait.