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East Jefferson and Children’s Hospital say they can accommodate ER patients

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 6:01 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Local emergency room doctors are concerned that reports of overcrowded hospitals may be keeping people from getting the care they need. They say their emergency rooms are busy, but they are not turning away anyone in need.

Through much of the COVID pandemic, we have heard that hospital space is at a premium with long waits, and some emergency room doctors worry.

“We have had a great fear going since March and April 2020 that people are avoiding needed emergent evaluation by a doctor because they fear our environment is not safe or we’re seeing so much COVID that we can’t care for everybody else,” said Dr. Roland Waguespack, with LCMC East Jefferson Hospital.

But at two local hospitals, there were few backups and emergency room chiefs say they have capacity.

“We are here and ready and open and we have physicians who are here who can help you no matter what condition you have,” said Waguespack.

Hospital administrators say most hospitals have been able to keep staff COVID-free, and some say they have gotten extra help.

“The state received several teams from the national disaster medical system and we’re not the only hospital that received a team,” said Dr. Toni Gross, with LCMC-Children’s Hospital.

Doctors say they are also trying to keep COVID patients separate.

“We are able to see everyone, we have made adjustments to make sure there are several different waiting areas,” said Gross.

And they say if you need emergency help, don’t hesitate.

“Things like trouble breathing or vomiting can’t hold down liquids that will typically warrant a trip to the emergency department,” said Gross.

“If you’re having a heart attack or stroke we will always move quicker for those patients,” said Waguespack.

East Jefferson doctors say sometimes ER patients may still have to wait, due to the unpredictability of patient demand. But they say that situation isn’t any worse now than it was before the pandemic.

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