Jackson hospitals crowded with flu patients

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JACKSON, Tenn. — Jackson-Madison County General Hospital officials said they are rejecting some patients seeking beds due in part to record numbers of patients with the flu. Dr. David Roberts, chief medical officer, said the patients they needed to turn away already are in beds at other hospitals in stable condition. Patients usually request a transfer to Jackson General for specialty treatment. He said the current flu epidemic is comparable to 2009’s H1N1 virus. The hospital has 635 licensed beds, and he said once that number reached 550, resources started to strain. “We are trying to find an alternative care for patients that are already in a hospital bed in another hospital that are stable,” Roberts said. He said the patients may have to travel farther from Jackson for that alternative care from similarly equipped hospitals in Memphis. Brett Hawley, clinical manager, said getting the flu vaccine could prevent the need for a hospital visit. “Even though it’s maybe not working as well this year, if you were able to get the flu after having the vaccine, usually your symptoms are less severe,” Hawley said. Roberts said there is no way to estimate when hospital beds will be free. It would depend on how quickly patients respond to treatment.

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