BEDFORD, OHIO – Bedford Fire Chief Dave Nagy is sounding the alarm highlighting what he calls concerning delays in emergency care, two weeks after University Hospitals closed emergency services at the Bedford Medical Center.
It’s a worrisome trend he said has already proved life threatening.
“Every second counts in regard to survivability and disability,” said Chief Nagy.
The chief said a patient went into cardiac arrest last week after arriving at the former Bedford emergency department, unaware it was permanently closed as of August 12.
The patient was transported to Marymount Hospital.
“From the time she got to the hospital and she called us and then we did our evaluation, our assessment, our transport, she probably would have been in that emergency room for 20 to 25 (minutes), maybe even more time prior to her suffering that cardiac arrest,” he said.
University Hospitals announced in July it would close its inpatient and emergency services at both the Bedford and Richmond Medical Centers due to a critical shortage of staff.
At the time, it cited 3,000 vacancies across the hospital system in July with nearly 900 of those positions in nursing.
Since then, both parties appeared in court after the city tried and was denied a late attempt to stop the closure.
Bedford filed a complaint with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services alleging discrimination related to the hospital closure in the minority community.
Chief Nagy said, since the closure, they are relying more often on mutual aid and experiencing longer turnaround times from transporting patients to area hospitals.
A city spokesperson said it leads to longer wait times for people experiencing emergencies.
The typical turnaround time for first responders was five minutes when the hospital was open. Now, it’s 25 minutes to Ahuja, 17 minutes to Marymount and 19 minutes to South Pointe Hospital in order for first responders to be back in service.
“We were up at Ahuja and we got tied up in the emergency room for 35 minutes,” said Nagy. “We had a resident who got stung by a bee and was having an anaphylactic reaction. Fortunately there was a neighboring squad in a neighboring community available, but that’s just so much larger than an emergency room closing.”
A University Hospitals Spokesperson released the following statement:
“UH strives for the same excellence system-wide in the speed of receiving patients from EMS into our Emergency Department facilities for care. Preserving the quality and timeliness of care requires that we staff our EDs and other departments appropriately, which is the reason for consolidating services during the workforce shortage.”