Columbus Hospitals See Increase in Patients; Swine Flu to Blame

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Columbus Children’s Hospital says it’s seeing up to 600 kids a day in its emergency department. But it is not the only hospital in the city to report an increase in patient volumes.

“250 patients a day from our usual 210 a day,” Saint Ann’s Doctor Frank Orth said.

Saint Ann’s emergency department is part of the Mount Carmel medical system. They, Ohio Health and Ohio State University Medical Center all are seeing between 10 and 20 percent increases in ER patients. And all three report swine flu, or H1N1, is the culprit.

Orth said staffing levels are sufficient, for now.

“We have not had to pull health care workers from other parts of the hospital to help us see those numbers. So I think we’re still short of capacity,” Orth said.

But it’s a different story at OSU’s emergency department. ER medical director Mark Moseley said the emergency room has seen about 230 people a day for the last week compared to the usual 200. And Doctor Moseley said that puts the department at capacity.

“Right now we’re able to handle the volume that we have with our existing capacity but certainly if the H1N1 epidemic gets worse or as seasonal flu comes on line then it certainly might be something that alternative treatment sites might have to be pursued,” Moseley said.

While OSU-Medical Center and Saint Ann’s are seeing a mix of children and adults, Ohio Health’s Chief Medical Officer Doctor John Drstvensek said Grant and Riverside are seeing mostly adults. Dublin Methodist is treating children as well.