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Yellow and Red Alerts Divert Ambulances From Packed ERs

11:20 PM, Jan 8, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -  At least 15 hospitals in suburban Maryland and in the District have been so crowded at times during the last 24 hours that ambulances were diverted to other emergency rooms, according to data from the The Maryland Emergency Medical Services (EMS) System.

The hospitals have included Suburban in Bethesda, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and Prince George's Hospital Center among many others.

So-called yellow alerts are issued by hospitals when emergency rooms are so crowded that ambulances carrying non-life threatening patients are asked to consider other locations.

At least 9 hospitals reported periods where no critical care beds were available and ambulances with more seriously ill patients were also diverted.

Many patients are coming in with cases of the flu, which is now widespread in the region, according to public health officials.