Amarillo, Texas - A record setting number of patients are flooding local hospitals and doctors offices with flu-like symptoms, and that's causing Baptist St. Anthony's hospital to make some major changes.
The drop-off area at BSA is getting better by the Last week, the ER saw 140 patients in a 24 hour period. On Monday, that number jumped to 240 in just 24 hours... All with flu-like symptoms.
In fact, there are so many patients that need to be treated that they ran out of space in the waiting room. They created an overflow area to house sick patients, hoping this secluded place will keep them away from the rest of the hospital.
They are also making several other changes to accommodate the rush.
BSA's Mary Barlow says, "We also have an ER physician who sits at the triage desk with the nurses to assess who needs to be seen the quickest, which we don't normally do. We don't usually have that we. We usually have doctors back there seeing the patients."
The key to getting patients in and out quickly is all in the processing of rapid-flu tests, so they've devised a new plan for that as well.
"We've worked with our lab to get those flu tests and those swabs done as quickly as they can be done. With the system we put in place the results are on the chart before the doctor goes in to see the patient in the room." As far as how serious the flu cases are in these patients... The hospital tells us they've seen everything from a runny nose to people who need to be hospitalized right away.
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