UTMB Closes ED, Opens Urgent Care Center

From Emergency Physicians Monthly:

The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston trauma center was significantly damaged by Hurricane Ike in September 2008. After the storm cleared, UTMB kept its ED open only to treat patients with minor ailments or to provide stabilizing treatment and transfer to patients who needed higher levels of care. About 600 patients needed transfer since Hurricane Ike struck the area.

UTMB’s program appears similar to a program at the University of Chicago that evoked public outrage not too long ago.

According to an article in today’s Galveston County Daily News, UTMB stopped the “treat and transfer” program that it had been using since September.

Instead, UTMB decided to close down its emergency department.

Now no one has access to emergency care at the hospital. Everyone with an emergency condition must call 911 to be transferred to another hospital – apparently in Houston which is a 48 mile trip according to Google Maps.

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