GULFPORT -- Memorial Hospital is diverting some ambulances to Garden Park in Gulfport and Merit Health in Biloxi because of an overflow of emergency-room patients.
Janet Stuart, Memorial's marketing and communications manager, said patients are coming to the emergency room with typical illnesses, combined with post-Thanksgiving maladies: respiratory and lung problems, diabetes, hyperglycemia, abdominal pains and strokes.
Memorial is not diverting patients who are on dialysis, or suffering strokes, chest pains or severe trauma, she said. Memorial finds its 45-bed emergency room overcrowded three or four times a year.
The hospital reciprocates with Garden Park and Merit, taking patients from those hospitals when their emergency rooms are overwhelmed.
Stuart said the hospital notified Garden Park and Merit on Wednesday morning that some ambulances would need to be diverted to their emergency rooms.
"Right now," she said, "we have a backlog in our ER. Sometimes it will bottleneck like that."
Some of the patients will need to be admitted. After beds are cleared and available, the ER should be less crowded.
But, Stuart added, "we always have a busy ER."
Memorial is the only Level II trauma center in the three Coast counties, as certified by the Mississippi State Health Department. As a Level II trauma center, Memorial is able to treat a broader range of traumas, including neurological and orthopedic surgeries.