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Lack of beds causes hospital to go on red alert

January 06, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

For the second time in as many weeks, Washington County Hospital went on red alert Monday because of a lack of open, monitored beds.

At least one other area hospital was forced to go on divert status as well Monday.

Washington County Hospital Spokeswoman Maureen Theriault said the hospital was placed on red alert status at 6 p.m. Monday. The hospital goes on red alert status when no monitored beds, which electronically track a patients' vital signs, are available.

Theriault said patients suffering from influenza and pneumonia symptoms were the most prevalent and the reason for the bed shortage. She said people also can use the Urgent Care Center at the Robinwood Medical Center from noon until 7 p.m. daily for treatment of ailments such as flu symptoms.

"The wait time might not be as long as in the (hospital) Emergency Department," Theriault said.

Last week, Washington County hospital was on red alert status for more than 12 hours starting Sunday evening.

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Theriault said the red alerts are common in the winter because of people seeking treatment for flu symptoms. In the event of a red alert at Washington County Hospital, most incoming patients are re-routed to other area facilities, Theriault said.

A Chambersburg (Pa.) Hospital spokeswoman said the facility was on divert status for a portion of Monday morning because of a monitored bed shortage, but could not specify the exact time.

Spokeswoman from Frederick Memorial Hospital and Waynesboro (Pa.) Hospital said their facilities did not need to go on divert/red alert status Monday. A Frederick Memorial Hospital spokeswoman said it was close to doing so at one point during the day.

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