BROWNSBURG, Ind. — Right now there are record number of people being treated at Indiana hospitals for COVID-19, with many health systems so full they can’t accept new patients.
That has presented a unique challenge for EMS personnel who have very few places to take their patients.
EMS officials tell us that regardless of diversion status, hospitals wouldn’t turn someone in need away.
“The situation is very bad I have been a paramedic for almost 20 years and I have never seen the state of emergency medicine in the way that it is right now,” said Jessica Hudson, a Brownsburg Fire Territory paramedic and registered nurse.
Hospitals across the Indy metro area have been going on diversion. When EMS makes a run they have to check and see which hospitals are able to accept patients.
“Every run is immediately more stressful because we never know what hospital’s going to be open and it can change on a momentary notice,” Hudson said.
Paramedics at the Brownsburg Fire Territory are literally going the extra mile to find hospitals that aren’t on diversion.
“The other day we picked up a patient in Central Brownsburg and went all the way to the hospital in Zionsville,” paramedic Daniel Buckley said.
Buckley said it’s happening across the area. It means paramedics can’t respond to as many calls — even though the calls keep coming.
“What I thought was a busy day four years ago is another day of the week now,” Buckley said.
Because hospital capacity is so small, even when a patient is transferred to an open hospital there is no guarantee there will be a bed for them.
“There’s a good chance if you call 911 and I pick you up in my ambulance I’m still going to have to take it in the waiting room, they’re going to triage you there and you may wait hours,” Hudson said.
Brownsburg said it’s doing the best it can and is even adding an additional ambulance to help out. However, the reality is they won’t see relief until the hospitals see it first.
“The hospital staff is, they are as stressed and burnt out as we are, they are stretched beyond capacity,” Hudson said.