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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Signs with the words “Code Yellow” are plastered all around Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.
The hospital declared a Code Yellow Emergency after they started seeing the ER packed regularly starting in mid December.
“Operations are not as normal,” says Penny Williams, who is the Senior Director for Emergency Services at Children’s Medical Center. “We are implementing things to help address the problem – the situation the influx of patients.”
Williams says they’ve converted conference rooms and clinics into waiting rooms, and they’ve hired more staff to help with the number of growing flu patients.
“Right now, we are actually considering what if the volume continues to increase? What if the children – the severity of their illness increases? How are we going to plan that?” says Williams.
In December, the hospital treated 16,000 patients, most had some kind of a virus.
Williams says that’s the highest number it’s ever had in the hospital’s history.
Thursday afternoon parents like Mario Garduno packed the ER.
He says he tried to take his 5 year old to her pediatrician, but couldn’t get in.
“We tried to make an appointment, but it was too busy. I guess too many people,” says Garduno.
Even though his little Jasmin got a flu shot on this visit, she was diagnosed with the flu.
“I hope she feels better,” says Garduno. “I hate to see her like this.”
As an added measure, Children’s is allowing only one family member with a sick child in the ER.
The hospital says only two visitors are allowed at the bedside of an admitted patient, and it’s asking parents to take healthy children home.
“Being able to have extra family members wait outside the area allows us better visibility within the waiting room,” says Williams.
Cook Children’s in Fort Worth also declared Code Yellow last month, but it has lifted it after their numbers in the ER started leveling off.
The hospital was treating about 600 children a day, but now it’s around 450 to 500.
Cook’s also hired more staff and also opened new area’s and turned them into waiting rooms.
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