Hospital critical care beds filling up - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Hospital critical care beds filling up

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Hospitals state-wide are experiencing a shortage of critical care beds, but the problem doesn't stop at the Mississippi state line.

Hospitals in neighboring states have been calling UMMC hoping to send their patients here.

Dr. Alan Jones, the Chairman of Emergency Medicine with the University of Mississippi Medical Center explained UMMC has to take care of its patients in a safe manner first, before they can start bringing in other patients.

Because UMMC is experiencing a shortage of critical care beds themselves, they haven't been able to do much for neighboring states with the same problem.

"There is a shortage of beds also in areas like New Orleans, and Mobile, and Birmingham, and Memphis. So in those situations, it's not unusual for referral patterns to change, and maybe hospitals that wouldn't normally refer to us, to start calling us," said Dr. Jones.

Dr. Jones says it's not uncommon for hospitals to see a bit more traffic in the winter months, but recent spikes in influenza are sending hoards of people to critical care.

"It's probably a bi-product of increased infectious diseases, and exacerbations of chronic diseases that occur more commonly in winter months," said Dr. Jones.

READ MORE: Flu Activity Higher Than Usual CDC Says

UMMC handles the bed shortage by allotting resources to each department as best they can.

"Utilize our beds for patients that need unique services that we have. Things that - services, physicians, equipment that other hospitals in the state may not have," added Dr. Jones.

READ MORE: Mississippi Blood Services Says State Facing Supply Shortage

The lack of critical care beds is on top of a statewide blood shortage and a national shortage of saline - problems that Dr. Jones says adds an extra stress factor, but the hospital is able to work around.

Dr. Jones asks that if you do think you need to go to the hospital, be smart about it, come when you need to, not when it's most convenient.

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