ER Patients put in halls due to overcrowding

Posted at 8:47 PM, May 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-19 09:44:16-04

 A population boom is potentially stressing a Bay area hospital's resources.

The hospital is already taking action to address the issue, but the solution didn’t come quickly enough for one recent patient.

“It felt like a catastrophic event happened,” said Stephanie Woodruff, describing the scene at Florida Hospital’s Wesley Chapel emergency room.

It wasn’t a bus crash or flu epidemic that filled the ER.

It was patients like Woodruff, who went for treatment of severe pain caused by a chronic digestive condition.

“I kept waiting for a room and they told me every patient there was waiting for a room…people that were very, very sick,” said Woodruff.

Woodruff took pictures that show where staff members put patients.

“Down every hall there were patients on either side of the wall,” she said.

And the wait for a room seemed to last Woodruff forever.

“It lasted for close to around 36 hours,” she said. ”And I was an admitted patient.”

During that time, Woodruff said was able to have X-Rays and other procedures performed, but didn’t have privacy for some care she needed and was potentially exposed to other patients.

“Which got a little scary knowing what you were around. You couldn’t afford to get those viruses and infections,” she said. 

Hospital officials say they’ve had higher numbers of patients than expected at the hospital, due to rapid growth in the Wesley Chapel/New Tampa area.

“I’ve been to many hospitals with many health issues, many ongoing health issues, and I’ve never had this kind of treatment in my life. Never,” Woodruff said. 

Woodruff left against medical advice and says she has also filed a complaint about her experience with the state.

Here's Florida Hospital's Media Statement:

 At Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, our number one priority, as always, is the health and wellness of our patients. Due to HIPPA regulations, we cannot comment on any patient’s case without written consent from the patient.

When delivering emergency care, it is critically important that we have the opportunity to thoroughly diagnose the patient, provide quality care and treat every patient that arrives at Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel for care. We continue to experience higher than expected volumes right now. Because our volumes have exceeded our expectations---- we began construction on a major expansion project last August that will add 62 more inpatient rooms, 32 more prep and observation rooms and nearly double the number of emergency department rooms and operating rooms as well as expand ancillary and support areas. The health, safety and comfort of our patients is our top priority and this expansion will enable us to better serve the community that entrusts us with their care.

While we have experienced high volumes, our patient quality and patient experience scores have continued to be high. We recently received awards from two respected industry leaders for Outstanding Patient experience that placed us in the top five percent and top fifteen percent of hospitals across the country.

Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel | Recent awards related to quality, patient experience

  • Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ - Healthgrades- top 15% of hospitals across the country
  • Press Ganey - Guardian of Excellence – top 5% percentile of hospitals in the country for patient satisfaction for 12 months in a row
  • Florida Hospital Association- Best Hospital Workplace (large hospital)
  • Top Workplace-Tampa Bay Times – last two years
  • Leapfrog- A safety rating- two years in a row
  • CMS- 5 star rating


To find the wait times at your local emergency room go to Pro Publica's website here.

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