North Texas

John Peter Smith Health Network Declares ‘Code Yellow'

A higher than normal number of sick people visiting the emergency room has led John Peter Smith Health Network to declare a Code Yellow.

The Code Yellow asks people with minor illnesses to consider seeing their primary care physician or an urgent care clinic for treatment instead of the ER.

JPS officials said Tuesday that traffic in the ER is about 25% higher than average since Saturday, April 27, though it's not due to any single health concern.

"Normally, we average about 320 patients a day in the Emergency Department," Executive Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Wanda Peebles said. "We had one day in the last week during which we saw 423 patients."

No end to the increased demand is in sight, officials said.

"We never say no to anything that comes to our doors," said Jesse DeWaard, Executive Director of Emergency Services at JPS. "There are sick patients in Tarrant County and right now we are overwhelmed with them. We are seeing patients that have a lot of health problems and many of them need to be hospitalized."

The JPS Emergency Department has 56 patient care rooms. Typically, each day 80-100 people are admitted to the hospital and 65 Behavioral Health patients are seen by Emergency Department personnel.

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