Crisis Facing Emergency Departments Across The Nation

If you live in Jacksonville and have to visit the emergency room at Onslow Memorial Hospital, you better hurry up at wait. Try a wait time of an average of two hours and 45 minutes. Hospital spokesman Tim Strickland says it could be even longer if you come at a peak time between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight. Strickland says he can attribute the long wait to a growth in population. When the hospital was built in 1974 the population of Jacksonville was 20,000. Today it's 70,000 which translates into a longer wait time, packed triage rooms, and unfortunately less doctors. But Strickland says a new emergency room facility hopes to alleviate that pain. The new facility is set to open in 2008. We checked other emergency rooms across Eastern Carolina to see about their wait times as well. Remember, the wait time generally refers to the time a patient has been assessed, to when they receive treatment. Beaufort County Hospital says their average wait time is two to four hours, Duplin General's is one hour and seven minutes, Nash General is 33 minutes, Wayne Memorial is 30 minutes to an hour, and Carteret General told us they don't track those numbers. Remember that wait time is after an initial assessment, or triage, with those in the most critical condition getting priority.