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Alabama hospital sees ambulance bay traffic jams

A photo captured Tuesday afternoon by ER Director Amy Brandon shows the congestion at EAMC’s ER...
A photo captured Tuesday afternoon by ER Director Amy Brandon shows the congestion at EAMC’s ER ambulance bay. The paramedics are sitting as the patient they transported waits inside on their stretcher for a bed in the ER to open up.(Source: Amy Brandon/East Alabama)
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 2:07 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase across the state, the East Alabama Medical Center says its emergency room is seeing record volumes.

A photo captured Tuesday afternoon by ER Director Amy Brandon shows the congestion at EAMC’s ER ambulance bay. The paramedics are sitting as the patient they transported waits inside on their stretcher for a bed in the ER to open up.

“This patient traffic jam keeps the out-of-town ambulances sidelined and unable to respond to other emergencies in their own communities,” EAMC said in a Facebook post.

The hospital said a lot of ambulances from neighboring counties are bringing patients to their hospital because many hospitals in the region and state are on diversion, meaning those hospitals are at zero capacity.

EAMC and EAMC-Lanier are not on diversion at this time, but officials said it’s likely a matter of time. The medical center’s three ERs saw over 250 patients Monday, even with wait times up to 8 hours.

Alabama saw 4,465 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, according to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health. The state’s hospitalizations increased to 2,731 Wednesday. That’s up eight from the previous day.

As of Tuesday, Alabama was out of intensive care unit beds.

“Keep in mind that other emergencies like heart attacks, strokes, car accidents and grandparents falling still happen every day--they don’t wait for COVID to just magically go away. Just another eye-opening example of hospitals struggling to keep up with COVID-19,” said EAMC.

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