An incident that occurred last Wednesday night illustrates the problem. A van carrying a church group back to New York City after a daytrip to Niagara Falls overturned on the NYS Thruway near Athens. Thirteen people were injured in the crash, four critically, but none was transported to CMH for care. The accident was reported in the Register-Star: "Four in critical condition after van crash." An email Gossips received from a reader who is a nurse at CMH explains why none of the injured was taken to CMH.
Our emergency room has been operating dangerously the last few months, but in the last two weeks, it's gotten anxiety-ridden scary.
The accident occurred on the thruway just south of Coxsackie. . . . The four most critical patients went to Albany Med. But due to CMH low-staffed emergency room, all the other patients were transported by ambulance to other hospitals like St. Peter's, Albany Memorial, Kingston, and even Northern Dutchess.
Last night, the whole emergency room was staffed by three nurses at the time of the accident, two of which were agency [nurses]. The other night, I left at 11:45 p.m., after 12-hour shift and three days in a row, to three nurses working an emergency room of 38 patients. . . . and at 3 a.m. going down to two nurses! We go on diversion it seems almost every day now . . . , but that does not close our doors to walk-ins. So at any moment that number of 38 could turn into 50 or more, with most waiting in the waiting room for who know know many hours.
If you go to the CMH website, you will find this description of the hospital's emergency services.
The Emergency Department at Columbia Memorial Health is one of the busiest emergency care centers in the Hudson Valley region. From life threatening conditions such as stroke and heart attack to common injuries and ailments, we treat a wide range of conditions with state-of-the-art technology and a streamlined process that reduces wait times and improved patient outcomes.
There is pretty obviously a typo in the last phrase of this statement, which is reproduced exactly as it appears on the website. It is not clear exactly what the typo is, but "improved patient outcomes" is obviously not meant to be the object of "reduces." Very likely improved should be improves.
We count on the emergency room at CMH to be there should we ever need it. Showing up for the rally on Thursday could be time well spent.
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