Sacramento, California (KTXL) – The latest wave of the coronavirus outbreak is complicating the already strained relationship between fire departments and medical centers in the Sacramento area.
The problem is the length of time first responders have to wait with patients for hospital staff to take over treatment.
UC Davis Health said Thursday night that the hospital has set records for the most emergency room patients in a single day, twice in just the past few weeks. This is one of the challenges.
The other is to keep ambulances on the street ready to respond. According to the Metropolitan Fire of Sacramento, COVID is only part of the problem they’ve been trying to solve for years.
A mobile phone video from Metro Fire shows an ER ambulance drop-off area at a local hospital that looks like a crowded parking lot.
“It affects the public. This is a public safety issue at this point, and this is something that has been going on for more than a decade,” said Captain Parker Welburn.
Data collected by the Sacramento County Emergency Medical Services Agency shows that in the month of December alone the average waiting time for public and private ambulances at hospitals was over an hour and 15 minutes.
Wellborn said his department is now forced to consolidate, which means one paramedic will be caring for several patients. The move is intended to allow ambulances and other staff to return to service to make new calls.
“We’re merging up to four patients into one paramedic and creating triage virtually within a hospital emergency department,” Welburn said.
Besides money lost hundreds of thousands of dollars a month while paramedics wait in emergency, Wellborn said ambulances may not be able to respond to emergencies quickly.
“We need these ambulances to get back into the field so you can answer the 911 calls. So when you or your family are sick, or have a cardiac event or some kind of real emergency, you don’t wait an extra five to 10 minutes for an ambulance coming from far away. to take you to the hospital,” Welburn said.