Hospitals Scramble to Handle Surge in Flu Cases
Amidst staffing and bed shortages, Southern California hospitals are "scrambling" to treat flu patients, some of whom are waiting up to six hours to be seen in some emergency rooms, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some emergency rooms are reporting 30%-40% more patients with "flu-like symptoms" this year than last year. The Times reports that last autumn's flu vaccine shortage left physicians and emergency rooms dreading this flu season "before it began," with doctors expressing concern that vulnerable patients would not receive the flu shot in time to ward off infection. In addition, hospitals nationwide are suffering from "severe" nursing shortages. Many hospitals have hired temporary nurses to help handle the influx of flu patients (Hayasaki/Ritsch, Los Angeles Times, 1/4).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.