Local ERs Struggle From Heavy Influx Of Psychiatric Patients
The patients are often held in the ER for days because other facilities are full, creating a shortage of both the doctors' time and the hospitals' resources.
Psychiatric Patients Strain Local ERs
As local emergency rooms try to accommodate more patients every year, hospital workers say their limited time and space is further strained by psychiatric patients who can occupy an ER bed for days. The patients, with limited options, are called 5150s, a reference to the California code that allows health facilities to temporarily keep patients involuntarily if they are considered dangerous to themselves or others. These patients may come to the ER on their own or law enforcement may bring them in. Once medical staff deem them a safety risk, the hospital keeps them and tries to move them to a specialized site, of which there is currently only one in the Coachella Valley. (Newkirk, 8/8)