Patients in emergency rooms, regional hospitals continue to wait for beds in Amarillo hospitals


Doctors say the limited capacity is due to nursing shortage

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Amarillo hospitals are still operating at limited capacity as the nation faces a staffing shortage, resulting in patients being left to wait for beds to open up.

It is something Amarillo hospitals have continued to express their concern about.

BSA Chief Medical Officer Michael Lamanteer telling the public in an emergency conference last week, “Please don’t get on a motorcycle. Don’t have a trauma don’t have a heart attack, because we’re going to be at a point where we can’t manage you.”

Dr. Lamanteer said Wednesday they had 27 patients waiting in the emergency room for admission to the hospital.

“That is an extremely high number for us that is not normal for BSA,” said Lamanteer. “Those patients that were waiting, there was a portion of them, obviously, were Covid patients, but it’s also affecting those that are not Covid patients that need health care for other acute medical problems.”

The situation is similar at Northwest Texas Hospital, where Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Weis said they had eight patients waiting in their ER for admission.

“That’s the best we’ve been in a while, and these are eight people who are stuck in the emergency room waiting for a bed to come available,” said Dr. Weis.

Northwest also said they have 34 patients at regional hospitals waiting to come to Amarillo. Some are Covid positive, some are not— all trying to get to Amarillo for critical care.

“As long as we continue to struggle with our own capacity, it really makes it very difficult for us to be able to bring these patients to a higher level of care in Amarillo,” said Weis.

Both Dr. Weis and Dr. Lamanteer said they have been on ambulance diversions, which is a way to temporarily relieve overcrowding in emergency departments.

They continue to urge those eligible to get the vaccine to do so.

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