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Flu season leaves little room for hospital patients(video)

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The flu season has really hit the Tri-States hard. You may remember, we told you a couple of weeks ago that 75 percent of patients who went to the walk-in clinic at Quincy Medical Group were diagnosed with the flu. I found out just how bad the flu is affecting area hospitals. We've heard reports the flu has hit some hospitals so hard that flu patients have filled up most hospital beds. We wanted to know if this is a problem in our area. I checked in with area hospitals for this KHQA FactFinder Report. I spoke with Hannibal Regional Hospital Director of Emergency Diane Slough. She told me that at least 20 people have been admitted because of the flu this winter season. Hannibal Regional Hospital has a total of 105 in-patient beds. So far, 81 are in use, but not all of those are flu patients. Slough says 35 percent of the patients admitted are in for respiratory problems.

I asked Slough how common it is for hospitals to reach full capacity.

"Occasionally it gets this way either through peak season. Some years are worse than others, this year is particularly bad," said Slough.

Diane Slough is the Director of Emergency Services at Hannibal Regional Hospital. She told me so far this year 20 patients have been admitted because of the flu. Slough told me there are a total of 105 in-patient beds and 81 of those beds are filled.

" Recently in the last couple of weeks we've had real tight situations with our beds in the hospital and unfortunately when that happens there's a back up," says Slough.

That means people have to wait longer to get treatment. Slough says to help with the high numbers, the hospital tries to increase staff during peak hours. Slough says the hospital hasn't reached full capacity yet, but she says the hospital has a plan to deal with patients so no one is turned away.

"If we get to a point where we're at capacity, we work well to look at the patients that will be able to go home sooner than later and hopefully make room for another patient," said Slough.

Slough says the hospital's biggest problem is not having enough beds. She hopes that when the hospital expansion is done in 6 to 8 months the problem will be fixed... that way the hospital will be able to better accommodate more people.

We checked in with Blessing Hospital. It's seen above normal E-R visits and admissions due to the flu. Blessing says it's not accepting every transfer request from other hospitals to make sure there are as many beds as possible for flu patients. The Fort Madison Community Hospital is at 94 percent occupancy.

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There are 50 beds, and 47 of them have been filled, but they don't anticipate having to do a bed shuffle. Keokuk Area Hospital is not at full capacity. A spokesperson there says patients are admitted and released at a constant flow. MCDonough District Hospital hasn't seen a high number of patients.

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