‘This is problem. It’s Critical”: Waco Hospitals Report Longer Wait Times for Patients in Emergency Rooms

Waco, TexasKWTX)- Health officials from Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest and Ascension Providence confirm to KWTX that patients are experiencing longer than normal waiting times in their emergency departments as a result of a surge in respiratory illness, influenza and COVID-19 cases.

Kimberly Townson is a patient who experienced this during the trip from Lake Whitney to Providence Ascension Hospital in Waco. After being unable to sleep without losing her breath, Kimberly decided to visit the emergency room just to be on the safe side.

“They couldn’t get us to our place all night because the rooms were overcrowded and the back rooms were full of patients,” she said.

Once there, she and her husband James found the waiting room packed with patients.

“We got there at 4. It wasn’t very crowded. By 9 pm it was very crowded,” said James.

Upon arrival, the nurses performed a blood test and removed other vital organs. However, eight hours later, Kimberly again felt short of breath in the waiting room.

“I went up there and asked, ‘Can I at least get some respiratory treatment? I said, “Please, I’m having trouble breathing.” I can’t even talk to you.”

Both Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest and Ascension have confirmed that ambulance waiting times have increased. In a statement, a spokesperson for Ascension said: “ER wait times are extremely flexible and constantly changing.”

A spokesperson for Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest said they have seen a spike in emergency room visits since November and expect the numbers to drop by March.

“This is the situation. This is problem. This is very important,” Kimberly said. “People can’t get the help they need.”

After 14 hours of waiting, the Townsons decided to return to Lake Whitney in a local ambulance.

Ascension said staff take vital organs from all patients upon arrival and then prioritize them based on their condition. The press service said that the hospital is committed to providing care to all incoming patients.

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