Local emergency departments experiencing high volumes, wait times

Published 3:48 pm Thursday, September 16, 2021

  1. JOSEPH – All three Spectrum Health Lakeland emergency departments continue to see significantly high patient volumes, resulting in long wait times, officials reported Thursday.

Care in the emergency department is prioritized by severity of condition and available for life-threatening illnesses and injuries such as:

  • Persistent chest pain or pressure
  • Facial lacerations
  • Head injury or broken bones
  • Major burns
  • Numbness or paralysis of face, arm, or leg
  • Poisoning or suspected overdose
  • Seizure or loss of consciousness
  • Severe reaction to insect bites, medication, or food
  • Severe shortness of breath or inability to breathe’
  • Sudden slurred speech, visual changes, or weakness
  • Uncontrollable bleeding

For other minor conditions and illnesses, health officials encourage patients to contact their primary care provider (after hours answering service is available at most locations) or visit a local walk-in clinic.

“Lakeland primary care practices offer around-the-clock access to an on-call medical provider,” said James Savoie, director of primary care practices, Spectrum Health Lakeland. “When our office building is closed, our phones are open. Whether it’s the middle of the night or a weekend, our answering service can contact a clinician on duty to help you. They will assess your condition and recommend what you should do next. Calling your primary care provider first could also save you time and money out of pocket.”

COVID-19 testing at a Lakeland facility is available for patients who have any symptoms of the disease. Patients in need of a COVID-19 test should contact their local primary care provider to obtain a doctor’s order. If patients do not have a provider, care related to COVID-19 continues to be available at all three of the Spectrum Health Lakeland walk-in clinics in Niles, Stevensville and Watervliet.