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Samaritan confirms ‘emergency meeting’ to deal with ER problem

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 4:56 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Samaritan Medical Center confirmed Friday that it faced a back-up of patients in its emergency room Thursday, one which prompted it to call on “multiple departments within the hospital.”

“Around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Samaritan Medical Center called an emergency meeting due to high capacity in the Emergency Department,” M. Andrew Short, Samaritan’s Chief Operation Officer, said in a written statement from the hospital.

“It became clear that we needed multiple departments within the hospital to come together to help discharge patients quickly in order to free up room for patients waiting to be seen.”

In recent days, 7 News has been told of long wait times at Samaritan’s emergency room, driven in part by high demand for COVID-19 testing.

People who either have symptoms of COVID or who need to be tested for other reasons are using the emergency room if they can’t get into an urgent care, or get the test some other way.

It’s not clear what role COVID and COVID testing played, if any, in Thursday’s problem.

“Within just a few hours, our staff worked together and the situation was effectively managed,” Short said in the statement.

Short’s statement also raised another issue Samaritan - and other hospitals - are facing: a shortage of emergency room nurses.

“A shortage of healthcare professionals is placing added stress on hospitals and emergency departments all around the country, Samaritan included,” he said.

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