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UPHS hospitals’ emergency departments currently busy and overwhelmed

One UPHS-Marquette doctor says there are misconceptions that are leading patients to the E.R.
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 6:19 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - At UPHS-Marquette, Dr. Frederick Hoenke, the Medical Director for Employee Position Group, says the emergency department has been especially occupied over the past couple months. This is because COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise in Marquette County and the U.P. But, he says there is a little more to the cause of crowded emergency rooms.

“There are patients that don’t really understand how to manage their respiratory illness or other acute symptoms,” Hoenke explained, “and don’t think they can access their primary physicians offices or other access points to the health system.”

“While people experiencing non-severe symptoms are asked to talk to their primary doctor or physician, Hoenke says common misconceptions lead patients to the E.R. instead.

“I think some people think they are going to be seen more quickly there,” he said. “And honestly, much of the time, that is not going to be the case right now because of the volumes.

“If you have something else going on that’s causing these symptoms,” he continued, “you’re not going to get as easily diagnosed if you’re phoning our office.”

To keep all patients safe, the hospital has been enforcing measures.

“We continue to have limited entry points into the hospital,” said Hoenke. “We have a self-screening process for our patients for symptoms. We require anyone entering our facility to be masked. We require all of our clinical staff who see patients to also be wearing face shields.”

The hospital is currently short-staffed, and Hoenke says the delays in essential care have been self-imposed by patients. Part of the reason is because they are afraid to enter the medical facility.

Hoenke says there is one main way the whole situation can improve.

“Vaccinations,” he stated. “I’m running daily to patients that have not gotten vaccinated. The reality is because there aren’t any good reasons. The internet is not a source of information regarding your medical care.”

Hoenke says people should go to the E.R. if they feel severely ill and contact their physician for a test in case of mild or moderate symptoms.

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