Flu causes 'concerning' ED crowding at Brigham and Women's

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Leaders at Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital have seen an unusually large volume of flu patients in its emergency department this month, reports WBUR.

The influx of flu patients is causing "concerning" levels of ED crowding, especially this early in the flu season, according to Chris Baugh, MD, vice chair of emergency medicine at Brigham and Women's.

"This year is striking those of us who've experienced many Januarys in the past as particularly challenging," he told WBUR. "That's not something that we are uniquely feeling at this hospital."

Brigham and Women's leaders issued a plea to the public Jan. 10, urging young, otherwise healthy flu patients to visit an urgent care facility or call their physician before coming to the ED.

Only patients who are experiencing shortness of breath, severe dehydration or confusion should come straight to the hospital's ED, said Paul Sax, MD, the hospital's clinical director of infectious diseases.

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