Hospital wait times across the board in Mid-Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Hospital wait times across the board in Mid-Michigan

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What started as a typical day turned in to a medical emergency for Terri Gillespie and her husband Dan.

"You can see the discoloration, it went from here all the way around to here," Terri Gillespie said. "The chain went right between my finger and it felt like, oh, that's close to the bone."

A dog chain nearly severed the tip of her finger.

"We went to urgent care and they said you're going have to go to the hospital, I'm concerned with the blood supply," Terri Gillespie said.

Terri Gillespie’s husband took graphic pictures showing the damage to her finger and the blood loss.

They rushed to Genesys Hospital's emergency room and that's when the Gillespies said the real nightmare began.

Terri Gillespie said she was called back to the office several times and then sent back to the waiting room each time, never once seeing a doctor.

"I said, 'is there a doctor here?' 'Yes there's a doctor,' she said. People are leaving,” Terri Gillespie said. “And he said, "You can leave we won't stop you,' but I said, 'yes, but you will charge me. Why would I leave? I need this addressed.'"

She said more than six hours had passed, growing more and more frustrated and then she saw a sign on the wall. It read “patient's rights.” She called the number on the bottom.

"I told him, 'I work for GM and I work in quality and your quality system is broke. I expect someone to come down here and take care of this,'" Terri Gillespie said.

What took hours, now only took minutes.

Terri Gillespie said someone came down and finally took her back to examine her finger. She was admitted at 7 p.m. and finally left after 2 a.m., according to documentation from the hospital.

"I'm sitting here for nine hours worried about tissue dying, so it was after I started the fight, after I called quality, they came," Terri Gillespie said.

The I-Team wanted to know where Genesys falls on average when it comes to emergency room wait times.

According to the watchdog group Pro-Publica which tracks data on a yearly basis, wait times there are the worst in all of Michigan with an average of more than an hour.

Genesys released a statement in response to wait times:

“Genesys has instituted a physician in triage process during peak hours, which has brought our median wait time for seeing an ED physician down to 17 minutes.”

The latest report, from 2014, breaks down average hospital wait times:

  • Midland's Mid-Michigan Medical Center: 48 minutes
  • Flint's McLaren: 40 minutes
  • Hurley Medical Center in Flint: 39 minutes
  • Saginaw's St. Mary's: 31 minutes
  • Saginaw's Covenant: 22 minutes

Covenant's director of emergency, Dr. Matthew Deibel said on an average day, 250 people visit Covenant's emergency room.

"Our wait times are pretty good, we are one of the best in the nation and in the state," Deibel said. "That person that has heartburn may actually be a heart attack and until I get them back and get them tested I don't know that so I don't want people sitting in the waiting room."

Those wait times are closely monitored.

"We focus a lot on a lot of processes to make that as minimal as possible for all of our patients," said nursing director of emergency, Heather Singleton.

Covenant believes happy patients taken quickly lead to happy nurses and doctors and a better experience for everyone.

Terri Gillespie said she urges everyone to know their patient rights and to speak up loudly if a trip to the ER becomes a waiting game in your moment of need.

"Switching my doctor because my doctor will only go to that hospital so we are in the process of switching our doctors," Terri Gillespie said.

Terri Gillespie said she received a phone call after this story originally aired on Feb. 8 from the hospital. She said she was told the hospital is planning an investigation into her wait and offered an apology to her.

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