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Hospital goes on, then off, alert status

January 07, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

Washington County Hospital, already on red alert since Monday evening, went on yellow alert for several hours Tuesday.

Washington County Hospital spokeswoman Maureen Theriault said the hospital went on yellow alert Tuesday afternoon.

A Washington County 911 Center dispatcher said the hospital also was on a trauma bypass Tuesday. The dispatcher said all three conditions were lifted Tuesday at approximately 5:15 p.m.

Red alert means there are no monitored beds available. Those beds monitor vital signs of patients, in any of the departments of the hospital, not just the emergency room, Theriault said. Yellow alert means the emergency room is "booked solid and cannot handle any priority two or priority three patients," people that are less-seriously injured, she said.

When on yellow alert, the hospital will accept patients if their travel time to another hospital facility is increased by more than 15 minutes over normal travel time to Washington County Hospital, Theriault said.

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In the event of such alerts, most incoming patients are rerouted to other area facilities, Theriault said.

Theriault said influenza and respiratory/pneumonia symptoms were the primary reason for the alerts this week. It was the second time the hospital had gone on red alert in the past two weeks.

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