BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - According to Medicare.gov , the national average wait time before someone is admitted into an Emergency Room is four hours and thirty-seven minutes. In New York State, the average wait time is six hours and six minutes.
In Buffalo, the longest wait is at ECMC, with a wait time more than seven hours. Kaleida Health and Mercy Hospitals average over six hours. Kenmore Mercy comes the closest to the national average at over four and a half hours.
WEB EXTRA | You can compare wait times with this online tool
Samuel Brown says he was waiting at Buffalo General Hospital for hours last week. He was suffering from complications with sickle cell anemia.
"We were sitting in the ER just waiting in excruciating pain sitting there. I just couldn't take it anymore," Brown said. "I eventually said 'I got to go, I'd rather be at home in bed than in these awful chairs and just keep waiting and waiting and waiting.'"
Teresa Klukowski had a similar experience in the ER at Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo. She says she waited seven hours before being seen by a doctor.
"I was sitting there for seven hours throwing up in a bucket in their waiting room [and] they could not care less. They basically thought that I had the flu and told me that I had to wait until somebody else that had the flu left. I said 'I don't have the flu, I know what's wrong with me'" Klukowski told News 4.
A spokesperson for Catholic Health Systems says in emergency rooms, people who have the most severe illnesses are seen first. They are reviewing the latest report from Medicare.gov .
Catholic Health points out that the wait times reported by the government don't show the amount of time a patient waits to be seen at an ER but instead show the amount of time someone waits before they are admitted as an inpatient.
Their spokesman explained that the time to be admitted as an inpatient can sometimes be a lengthy procedure. Normally the only patients that are admitted need extra attention, have additional tests that need to be conducted and need to wait for a bed to be ready and available for them.
At ECMC, 63,000 people come through the ER each year. Though you are likely to see a health care professional in about 34 minutes, it will be seven hours and 22 minutes before you'll be placed in a hospital bed. But ECMC's Senior Marketing VP says there are a lot of tests before admittance.
"Radiological tests. We have to do lab tests. We do a lot of those tests in the ER where others might admit, and then do those tests," Thomas Quatroche said.
At Kaleida hospitals you will see a health care professional 53 minutes after you go through the ER door. But it will be six hours and 26 minutes before you are placed in a bed and admitted. Like the other health care systems, Kaleida has spent millions upgrading its emergency departments to accommodate a growing number of ER patients.
You'll spend the least amount of timing waiting for a bed at Catholic Health System Hospitals. The wait at Kenmore Mercy is four hours, 26 minutes. And you'll also see a health care provider about 22 minutes after coming into the ER.
Kaleida notes that we have seen the closing of hospitals in western New York and the consolidation of hospital beds. That puts an extra strain on exisiting emergency rooms.
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