Fort Worth

JPS Hospital Emergency Room Declares ‘Code Yellow' Due to High Patient Volume

John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth issued a 'Code Yellow' on Tuesday, saying the emergency department is overwhelmed with a high number of patients.

While the hospital remains in a 'Code Yellow,' patients that have a minor illness are encouraged to visit an urgent care facility close to your home, or even visit the JPS family health center for treatment, instead of the ER.  

This is the second time in a month that the hospital has declared a 'Code Yellow.'

Team members from other departments are being ask to help out in the ER and come in and work extra shifts to make sure that all patients are cared for.

The hospital says it is on track to see 10,750 patients in the ER for the month of May. Staff says this is the largest number ever. In fact, in one day, 427 people were seen in the ER.

The National Emergency Department Overcrowding Scale (NEDOCS) uses a formula including factors such as the number of admissions, hospital beds available, boarding times and wait times to determine how stressed hospital resources are. A score of 0-50 is considered to be “normal,” 51-100 is “busy,” 101-140 is “overcrowded,” 141-180 is “severe” and above 180 is “disaster.”

The JPS Emergency Department’s score Tuesday afternoon was 298. By comparison, none of the other hospitals in the Fort Worth area currently has a NEDOCS score higher than 80.

“That’s squarely in disaster mode, and things are going to get worse,” said Lance Lynch, Director of Emergency Management at JPS. “Holidays are usually a lighter time in the hospital, it’s the days immediately after the holiday when we see the number of people who come in start to increase. So, as we move past Memorial Day weekend, we’re likely to see our numbers rise even more.”

Lynch said one of the reasons resources are being overwhelmed is because a high percentage of the patients who have come into the hospital have cases that require an inpatient stay as opposed to being treated and released.

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