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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) Ted James insists that Dallas’ Presby (known formally as Texas Health Presbyterian) is still his hospital.
That’s in spite of an admittedly botched response to the nation’s first Ebola virus diagnosis.
“Well, it was on my mind quite a bit,” admits James.
The highly regarded North Dallas hospital became the epicenter of the Ebola crisis.
And in spite of years of loyalty, James admits that he worried about whether he’d take his transplant patient wife there if the need arose.
“I probably would have second thoughts about being in the area,” admits James, “because of her situation.”
Two months ago, doctors told us that many patients simply refused to go. “They just don’t want to be on a campus that has an Ebola patient,” said Jeff Goudreau, MD, in October.
Dr. Goudreau is an internist with Medical Specialists Associated, a nearby practice.
He now says that as quickly as the panic spread calm and confidence are quietly returning.
“They got the all clear, they saw that a lot of high powered people were in the area and gave the hospital good marks and said `come on back’, “ says Dr. Goudreau,
“And I think all of my patients are going back.”
Dr. Goudreau also believes a polished, high-dollar television ad campaign also did its job.
“It brought the name around a lot. It said how they were trying to get out there and help, they said ‘thank you’ to all of the community, [I] really do think it did.”
And there was much work to do. According to hospital financial disclosures, revenue dropped by about 25 percent—roughly 8 million dollars during the first three weeks of the crisis.
Emergency room visits dropped 53%. Hospital officials say that figure reflects the fact that the ER stopped accepting patients during the height of the crisis.
But, like many nearby physicians’ offices, Presby officials also now tell us that patients are returning.
In a statement today spokesperson Wendell Watson told us: “Patient levels for most services have returned to where they were in September.
Emergency Department volume is also recovering but has not quite reached previous levels. Moving forward, Texas Health Dallas is committed to continuing to provide quality care to the people of North Texas as we have done for 50 years.”
And that’s welcome news for Ted James.
“I’m very glad,” says James. “It’s my hospital,” he adds with a laugh.
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