Stepping up

January 17th, 2014

Preparing for a long weekend that will bring thousands of visitors to Fort Worth, JPS and the city’s other major hospitals agreed Friday to share information expected to bolster the community’s collective response to the flu. Emergency departments will provide snap-shot status reports every six hours at least through Tuesday, allowing MedStar to transport patients to the hospitals best prepared to accommodate an influx.

“I’ve got to brag about Fort Worth,” Dr. Gary Floyd, chief medical officer, told reporters this week. “In this medical community, we work very well together. The community responds extremely well” to challenges such as this year’s flu outbreak.

Patients with flu and other respiratory illnesses have filled most of the area’s emergency rooms this week. High patient volumes are coupled with the unusual virulence of this year’s prevalent strain of flu. More patients than usual need to be admitted, rather than treated and sent home, straining the availability of inpatient beds. And the three-day weekend ahead brings the opening of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, drawing an influx of out-of-town visitors.

The surge of patients has been met with a vigorous response, including the addition of night and weekend hours at six JPS clinics and the decision to allow anyone with flu symptoms to take advantage of them, not just established JPS patients.

Team members in many areas of the hospital are working extra shifts. “Our staff has been amazing,” Floyd said at a news conference. “They’re not looking at ‘when can I go home?’ They’re saying, ‘What can I do to help?’ Everyone steps up. We are here to serve the community, and that is what we intend to do.”