As of noon Monday, nine out of twenty-one beds at Onslow Memorial Hospitals emergency department were occupied by either mental health or detox patients.
Hospital CEO Ed Piper says on July 22nd the hospital became the default location to treat patients from Onslow County behavioral clinic. According to the state the behavioral clinic is only allowed to treat involuntary commitment patients or detox for two to four hours. It was keeping patients overnight. Now, the hospital is forced to treat these patients.
Piper says those patients aren't getting the treatment they deserve because Onslow Memorial isn't a facility equipped to handle their special needs. He says the hospital does not have a psychiatric ward --and says these patients need a transitional place to stay before they go to a state mental health facility.
Piper has written numerous letters to local congressmen, senators, --even the governor in hopes to get a solution to this ongoing problem.
Piper says some patients will be in the emergency room for over 17 hours before being moved to a state facility.