Most of us will have to go to the emergency room at least once in our lifetime. And if you've gone within the past few years you may have noticed even more people there.
According to studies there has been a 23 percent increase in visits in emergency rooms across the country from 1997 to 2007. Officials at Pitt County Memorial Hospital say they too have seen increases. They say within the past few years they've seen almost double the amount of people coming in to the emergency room.
Chief of Emergency Services at PCMH Ted Delbridge says there are a lot of factors that go into the increase. He says, “some of it has to do with availability of care in the community, and the population has grown and actually has outstripped the capacity of the medical community to care for people."
Studies also show that the number of people going to the emergency room without insurance has increased, along with wait times. But Delbridge says at PCMH wait times have actually decreased. Delbridge says, "wait times here are actually down, that has to do with a lot of hard work we've done both in the emergency room and throughout the hospital to make sure people get out of the waiting room faster than they used to."
Delbridge says another problem is that many people are going to the emergency room even though their condition may not actually be an emergency.
PCMH Officials say they have plans in the works to open a pediatric emergency department for children under 18. They are now in the process of applying to the state. They say they hope this will help to meet the needs of the community here in the east.