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"He waited in the emergency room": Local mom warns others of rising pressure on hospitals

Denise Reis said her son waited in an ER for care from Monday-Tuesday because of an overload of patients at hospitals across the region

Local mother Denise Reis wants everyone to know the pressure hospitals across Pennsylvania are facing right now. 

She said her son sat from Monday to Tuesday waiting for care inside a packed emergency room. 

 "My son got considerably worse waiting in the emergency room for as long as he did," she said as she claimed she tried to call multiple other hospitals in the area as her son waited at UPMC West Shore. But, she said every hospital she called was facing the same problem.  

"I blame a lot of it on COVID. I think that has certainly overwhelmed our hospitals. I feel like there could be field hospitals or something else to take the overload because this is all of Pennsylvania," said Reis.

She claims she called medical centers across Lancaster, York, Lebanon, and Cumberland counties.

"He waited in the emergency room from Monday until Tuesday afternoon and then he was admitted to the emergency room because there's not any beds available," she said. 

Reis is a retired nurse and she said she sympathizes for nurses. She said more nurses are needed right now along with more help for hospitals.

She also acknowledged people need to continue to get vaccinated. 

"I'm frustrated that it's come down to this. I'm empathetic for the nurses that work there," she said. 

Track COVID-19 cases at:

Penn State Health

Lancaster General Health

Wellspan Health

UPMC released this statement:

As of Sept. 20, 2021: Across the UPMC system in the U.S., we are treating 471 inpatients who are positive for COVID-19: 137 are in southcentral Pennsylvania at UPMC hospitals in Harrisburg, Carlisle, Lititz, Hanover, and York.

At UPMC, our goal is to start and complete the best care as promptly and safely as possible. For many, any wait at an emergency department is short. But, given the high numbers of people seeking emergency care at some sites, especially at this phase of the COVID 19 pandemic, we must use an initial triage process in each UPMC emergency department to help prioritize patients for care when immediate space is tight. That evaluation is done by a trained professional and uses many factors, including potential severity and time waiting to aid.

Anyone with a perceived emergency medical condition should go to the closest emergency department or call 9-1-1. UPMC urges others with new or worsened illnesses and injuries to take advantage of outpatient options such as UPMC Urgent Care, UPMC Express Care or virtual appointments through UPMC’s Anywhere Care or UPMC Children’s Anywhere Care (for anyone up to 17 years old.)

For the best protection against COVID, and especially to protect children, we urge everyone eligible for a COVID 19 vaccine to make the choice to get one, and strongly urge all to mask indoors or when in a crowd. 

- Tyler Wagner, UPMC spokesperson