Pandemic causing long wait times at Triad emergency rooms

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Doctors have been warning us for months. A COIVD-19 surge will overwhelm our hospitals and disrupt the way we get care.

A Greensboro man says he waited 16 hours to see an ER doctor at Cone Health Moses Cone Hospital over the weekend.

Don Hutson checked in Sunday at 6 p.m. and didn’t see a doctor until Monday at 10 a.m.

He says what happened in between those hours is compelling him to warn others about COVID’s toll on our health care system.

“This is real. I’ve seen it firsthand. I’ve experienced what it is causing, and it is only getting worse,” said Hutson.

Hutson says if you think the virus is a scam then go take your loved one to an emergency room.

“There was literally no place you could put another gurney and Moses Cone has a huge emergency department,” said Hutson.

Hutson suffers from congestive heart failure and AFib. Sunday night he rushed to the hospital when his legs and chest began filling with fluid.

“We go to check-in and the nurse says you need to know it’s a 15-hour wait before you can see a doctor and I was literally stunned,” said Hutson.

He spent the next 16 hours waiting to see a doctor, and while he waited for a bed, frontline workers never slowed down.

Hutson says they performed blood work and X-rays and nurses were in the lobby monitoring vitals.

What he remembers most though is the “thousand-yard stare.”

“It really hit me that these people are exhausted. They are seeing people who they’ve tried to take care of die on them,” said Hutson.

Hutson says after 16 hours there was no denying COVID’s devastating impact on our health care heroes.

“They really are doing the best they can with what they have. The problem is they don’t have enough,” said Hutson.

Cone Health says staffing challenges are a contributing factor to the long wait times, but they emphasized if you have a medical emergency do not hesitate to visit the ER.

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