Emergency room wait times increased during the holidays

Emergency rooms busier as ICU beds fill with COVID-19 patients

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Healthcare workers are constantly on the move inside of Ocean Springs Hospital. Emergency Physician Dr. Gregory Patino said the emergency department gets a bit hectic when ICU rooms begin to fill up.

“I think we have 75 COVID patients that are in the system right now between the three hospitals. I think 23 of those are in the ICU at this point. I think 12 of them are on the ventilator,” Patino said. “The ICU has been the tough thing. We’ve actually had to house some of the ICU patients in the emergency department.”

During every holiday season, healthcare workers anticipate an increase in the number of emergency room visits. When you add COVID-19 on top of having to care for all the additional patients, hospitals begin to experience lengthier wait times.

“It’s kind of like a river. Anything that gets blocked up upstream affects everything downstream,” Patino said. “As we have decreased rooms in the hospital, that means that we have a decreased ability to move patients into the emergency department.”

Patino said even with the uptick in patients, Ocean Springs Hospital will never turn away an ambulance transporting a patient that needs help.

“We’re going to take care of you. If you’ve got an illness, if you’re sick, we’re going to get you back and we’re going to find a way to take care of you,” Patino said. “For some of the more minor issues, you may be waiting a little bit longer, but if you’ve got a critical issue we’re going to get you back. We’re going to get you taken care of.”

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