Deaths increase 7 months after SD hospital's ER closed

Since Rosebud, S.D.-based Indian Health Service hospital's emergency department closed last December, nine individuals have died in the backs of ambulances, according to the Argus Leader.

Over the past seven months, IHS has been diverting patients to the nearest ERs in Martin, S.D., Winner, S.D. and Valentine, Neb., all of which are more than 40 miles away.

And that's not all — since December, five babies have been born in the backs of vehicles.

These are just two problems among a greater list of issues at IHS. In June, its obstetrics and surgical departments closed, according to the Argus Leader. In 2015, CMS found a number of deficiencies at the hospital, including reports that staff members hand-washed surgical instruments while a sterilizer was broken.

Numerous state leaders are also getting involved in the issue. "In the Great Plains area, particularly in South Dakota, this issue has reached a crisis stage," said Sen. Mike Rounds (R), who called for an audit of IHS.

More articles on patient flow:
ED use in the 5 largest states: 4 key findings
OIG investigation finds Houston VA facilities faked patient appointment data
In Iowa, mental health patients left stranded in hospitals for months

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