Arizona woman waits 13 hours for room in hospital hallway as hospitals see rise in COVID-19 patients

Posted at 9:46 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 07:31:45-05

TUCSON, AZ — An Arizona woman had to wait 13 hours in bed inside a Tucson hospital hallway, as she waited for a room to open up and be admitted.

It’s a reality that can happen as hospitals are working to treat not just COVID-19 patients but also everyday emergencies.

Tempe resident Sam Bero, tells ABC15 that her mother went to St. Joseph’s Hospital last week after delaying care for an infection earlier this year.

Bero said her mother went from an infection to kidney stones that turned into a larger medical issue, “It just ended up turning into a bigger problem than it should've been.”

The Center for Disease Control released a report this past summer that said four in 10 U.S. adults have avoided medical care because of COVID-19 concerns.

“As of June 30, 2020, an estimated 41% of U.S. adults reported having delayed or avoided medical care during the pandemic because of concerns about COVID-19, including 12% who reported having avoided urgent or emergency care,” the report stated.

On Tuesday, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported that there are 192 ICU beds available across Arizona and 1,093 inpatient beds available.

ADHS is also reporting the highest number of inpatient COVID-19 patients in this new surge with 2,084 people in their hospital metrics.

COVID-19 patients in ICUs also are climbing with 474 people hospitalized -- a similar number we saw right before the summer surge.

Bero said her mother got to the hospital at 1 p.m. and didn’t get a room until 2:45 a.m.

“They were triaging patients in the waiting room so doing all the blood pressure, IVs and all in the waiting room,” said Bero. “And then when she finally did get a bed she was in a bed in the hallway for 13 hours.”

Hospital leaders across Arizona say that the number of available beds can change throughout the day as the number of patients goes can change.

A spokesperson for Carondelet tells ABC15 that their hospitals continue to have the capacity to treat patients needing medical care, “like any hospital, the number of patients in-house can fluctuate daily.”

Hospitals across the state are also working to secure more staffing as there is expected to be an increase in hospitalizations from COVID-19 in the coming weeks.

“We commend our team of health care professionals who are working valiantly to ensure our preparedness as we continue caring for our community,” a spokesperson for Carondelet added.

Bero said her mother has since been released from the hospital, and she’s expected to be okay, “the poor nurses and doctors are so overworked.”