There's a warning that hospital beds could all be full in much of the country in the event of a swine flu outbreak.
A report from the nonprofit Trust for America's Health estimates that if a third of the people wind up catching swine flu, 15 states could run out of hospital beds at around the time the outbreak hits its peak. Even though just a fraction of people with swine flu would be sick enough to be hospitalized, it could still tax the resources of America's hospitals. In the spring, when the H1N1 flu first appeared, the report says more than 44,000 people visited emergency rooms in New York City.
To deal with overcrowding from emergencies, hospitals are supposed to have "surge" plans -- determining, for example, when they would postpone elective surgeries to free up beds.
(The report says the states in which hospitals would fill up are Delaware, Connecticut, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.)
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