Hospitals seeing influx of patients - CBS 5 - KPHO

Hospitals seeing influx of patients

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PAWCATUCK, CT (WFSB) -

With power outages affecting doctor's offices and pharmacies across much of the shoreline, hospital emergency rooms have seen an influx of patients, especially those needing access to oxygen tanks.

When patients usually have a small medical problem, they go to their doctor's office, but many of those offices don't have power.

"Our volumes have been very heavy in the emergency department since the storm," said Lawrence and Memorial Hospital Emergency Management Coordinator Ron Kersey.

According to hospital officials, they have seen 25 percent more patients than usual at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital. Most of them needing oxygen.

"This is what they thought was their only option for medical care and long-term care," Kersey said. "And they couldn't use their home medical devices."

Home oxygen systems do not work when the power goes out. Emergency shelters are equipped to help people who need power, instead of emergency rooms.

Hospital officials are also trying to work with long-term care facilities, so patients can go there until the power is restored.

If it is not a true medical emergency, people are asked to call 211 to find out where they can go for a routine medical call, find a shelter or get power.

"We had a separate area of the emergency department set up for boarding these community patients and some we've put upstairs," Kersey said. "But, we've been able to care for everybody and still are."

Greenwich Hospital officials are also seeing an increase in patients.

"Due to high patient volume in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Greenwich Hospital is experiencing heavy demand on its parking facilities," the hospital said on its Facebook page.

Extra staff will be available to accommodate those parking at the hospital.

Road closures during the storm caused home deliveries of oxygen tanks to stop. The problem will be fixed on Thursday.

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