News10NBC Investigates: Heart patient waits 3+ days for room at RGH

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The health care crisis continues in our community. Overcrowded and understaffed hospitals are leading to longer than normal wait times for care. On top of that, if a patient needs to be admitted to the hospital, they could end up waiting days for a room.

As News10NBC has been reporting, all of our health care systems are short-staffed. Many nursing homes are closed to new patients because of staffing which means patients who would normally be discharged there, are backing up in local hospitals, taking up much-needed beds. That leads to the situation that the Vega family of Rochester is currently dealing with.

Lydia Vega was having heart problems so, one of her daughters brought her to Rochester General Hospital last week.

“She went in Friday morning around 9 o’clock and she did not get a room until late last night,” explained Vega’s Son-in-Law, Scott Wilmeth. “She was in the hallway by herself nobody could be with her and as we all know even in the best hospitals you always need an advocate, somebody watching out for you and making sure the doctors are communicating etc. and no one was allowed in.”

It’s been especially frustrating because Vega’s health history is complicated. On top of her current heart problems, the 80-year-old is also diabetic and partially blind.

“When you have somebody like that with so many complications no one’s guiding that medical care,” Wilmeth added.

Last week, the Chair of Emergency Medicine at Rochester Regional Health admitted the situation is the worst he’s seen in many years.

Dr. Keith Grams (Chair of Emergency Medicine, Rochester Regional Health) – none of us are happy with the situation at times but everyone is working to make this better.

Jennifer Lewke (News10NBC) – Do you believe that this is at crisis level? Or how bad is this in your experience?

Dr. Grams – Yeah, this is some of the most challenging I’ve seen in the last dozen years… to appreciate the staffing crunch as well as the capacity crunch as well as folks that weren’t seeking care and are coming in sicker than they were before this is probably some of the most challenging I’ve seen in the Rochester region.

As of Monday, Vega finally has a room. Doctors have confirmed she suffered a heart attack but that still doesn’t give her a fast-pass to the remaining care she needs.

“We’ve got to wait until tomorrow [Tuesday] for more tests, it just seems that everything has been delay, delay, delay,” Wilmeth said.

News10NBC reached out to Rochester Regional on Monday to see if it wanted to comment on Vega’s situation or provide any updated information, a spokeswoman referred us back to Dr. Gram’s comments from last week.