Increase In Emergency Room Visits In The East

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.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by DB Location: Washington on Aug 18, 2010 at 05:00 PM
    Wait until Obama care is in full drive. There will be such a shortage of PCPs the ED will be clearing house for everything. You will be doing well care visits. The private insurers are already dropping "typical" care practices getting ready for the no slug left behind no denial policy. Of course there will be no extra charge for patients who continue to smoke 3 packs a day and eat cake until their diabetes is so bad they cant feel their feet. Some of these already get free health care on the back of hard workers like MAemergency nurse.
  • by MAemergency nurse Location: MA on Aug 17, 2010 at 06:10 PM
    As an ER nurse I have to agree with almost all of the posts. The ER is horribly abused, as is the "cab-ulance" service, by people who think they are going to breeze in, get checked out and be on their way. Not to mention the drunks/addicts/psych patients who can sometimes be downright dangerous. All being supported and paid for by the taxpayer, of which I am one. Part of the blame lies with PCP's, who refer patients to the ER because "we have no appt's today so just go to the ER". An ER is for EMERGENCIES, not just getting checked out. People need to take responsibility for their own healthcare, and learn basic first aid and care of simple things like sore throats, fevers, etc. Not every belly pain is appendicitis, and pain when you cough (and smoke 3 pack per day) does not always mean cardiac-related chest pain and/or a heart attack. Maybe if pt's were forced to pay up-front, they would stop abusing the emergency room.
  • by LaurieERRN on Aug 17, 2010 at 11:14 AM
    The ambulance has been tuned into a Medicaid TAXI and the ER into a furnance for burning tax dollars. Most of the community has no idea just how bad it is. For instance a man lives 10 miles out and needs a ride to the party so he calls 911 to the ER. He arrives and leaves without being seen because he has achieved his goal; he has gotten a free ride within walking distance to the "party." Example two: the number of pelvic exams done in the ER is ridiculous because people not only refuse to use protection, they also refuse to use the local health department for STD's. They come to the ER. Example 3: "I want a pregnancy test". Example 4: My baby feels warm. But they haven't actually checked the temperature or given them anything for a fever. Example 5: I'm here for a stomach ache & they walk in carrying a bag of Doritos, a honey bun, hot fries and a coke. The system is so abused it makes me sick. Who pays? Anyone who has a job and pays taxes. The people abusing the system pay nothing!
  • by Free Ride on Aug 17, 2010 at 10:03 AM
    Listen to a scanner with rsq calls, stumped toe, cut finger for a rsq to haul them to ER, then don't pay the bill, but can buy drugs ect. Makes one sick. My hat's off to the rsq people.
  • by Shoemaker on Aug 16, 2010 at 10:47 PM
    The ED is full of drug seekers, kids whose parents refuse to give them something for a fever (and by the way mom and dad, do not let your kids run around bare footed in the ED or any medical facility). The Emergency Department use to be for emergencies only. When I was little, if I threw up, I got ginger ale and crackers... now, everyone runs in for an IV after they vomit once. If it burns when they pee, it's off to the ED. Heaven forbid someone have ear pain or a sinus infection. It is out of control. This is because they do not have to pay the bill. THE TAX PAYER DOES. The insurance companies jack the prices up for the insured. There is no accountability. Sit at home on your lazy butt, don't work, don't go to school, and run to the ED if you need something, because they cannot turn you away. It is free. This government better get it together. They are sending a very strong message and it is NOT a good one.
  • by Maria on Aug 16, 2010 at 10:37 PM
    The cases that we see are unreal. These people come in to the ED with $40 fake nails, $400 cell phones and Medicaid. I do not understand. These folks are in their 20's and without diabilities. They test positive for drugs!!!! Its all on the tax payers dime! Where is the justice in this. I believe if you are on government assistance, you should have to pass a drug test. Welfare was never intended to be an employment opportunity and the ER was never intended to be primary care. ER stands for Emergency Room!
  • by Sybil Location: Clayton on Aug 16, 2010 at 10:31 PM
    First of all, people forget that the emergency room is for emergencies. I am a nurse and not only do people abuse the ER, but they call 911 for transport for nonemergencies, only to have family members follow them in. This is an attempt to come straight to the back and avoid the wait. These people will still be sent to the lobby for a non-emergency, but more tax dollars have been wasted. Medicaid funds are wasted on people who have an ability to work but choose not to. They should at least be required to actively seek employment or education. The government rewards negative behavior with positive feedback and the tax payer suffers. People who are truly sick often wait because the ER is full of ear pain, toothaches, canker sores, chronic back pain or untreated fevers. It is very frustrating for the staff, because these people do have a sense of entitlement. Not to mention, they will come in with belly pain, and the first thing they ask for is something to eat.
  • by Bill Location: Greenville. on Aug 16, 2010 at 01:57 PM
    Not hard to figure this one out folks. Can not be turned down, no co-pay, just usually a long wait. No see the cashier on the way out. No rocket science here. No career politician has the courage or desire to fix this. Too volatile. So the taxpayer will pay again for the lack of courage by politicians.
  • by Mentalhealthcasemanager on Aug 16, 2010 at 10:41 AM
    Some of the increase could be because of the changes in the mental health system and the lack of services right now. If a person is having a mini-crisis, they are told to go the ER, and they don't have any support in the community. It's a shame and a waste of tax dollars because many of the mentally ill are on Medicaid. It's wasteful when the money could be spent more wisely to get better services for this population, rather than sitting in the ER just to get a referral to a doctor!
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Aug 16, 2010 at 10:34 AM
    John, so right, if you show compassion and offer it, they will take it, then more, than more. I am not so sure about this "study" or the group that did this, however, if you go to Washington and check out the ER room, mostly minority and mostly illegals. So showing compassion for one another just means those that will abuse this priviledge....do just that.
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