Gulf Coast Medical Center experiencing intense ER overcrowding; wait times reach 24 hours

Fort Myers, Fla.-based Gulf Coast Medical Center is urging patients to use other healthcare facilities in the region as there is severe overcrowding in its emergency room, according to a News-Press report.

As of the afternoon of Feb. 10, 2017, patients are experiencing wait times of up to 24 hours, when it is typically around seven hours at the Gulf Coast Medical Center ER — one of the busiest ERs in the region.

The medical center's parent, For Myers-based Lee Health, has asked emergency medical services to divert clinically appropriate patients to other facilities. Additionally, the health system requested patients to use urgent care centers for medical issues that are not life-threatening.  

Gulf Coast Medical spokesperson Mary Briggs noted that the hospital is not "turning people away."

"We want to make sure that the community can make good decisions on where to seek care if they do need emergency medical care over the next 24 hours. If they're coming here, it's going to be a long wait," Ms. Briggs told the News-Press.

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