BAKERSFIELD: Hospitals Declare ‘Crisis’ In ER Overcrowding
Fred Drew, director of Kern County emergency medical services, told county supervisors Tuesday that "[o]vercrowding in Bakersfield's four emergency rooms has reached 'crisis' status and requires immediate action." The Bakersfield Californian reports that overcrowding for the area's four hospitals -- Kern Medical Center, Mercy, Bakersfield Memorial and San Joaquin -- "is the worst in at least a decade." According to Drew, an outbreak of the flu, combined with nursing, bed and space shortages have contributed to the problem. The Californian reports that all four hospitals' emergency rooms were "saturated," or no longer able to accept patients in ambulances, 47% of the time last month, compared with 25% of the time the same period last year. But spokespersons for Mercy and San Joaquin hospitals "said they wouldn't characterize the situation as a 'crisis,' noting emergency rooms regularly go on and off saturation and closed hospital status every day" (Bedell, 1/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.