Beds in short supply at hospital

Influenza, a common medical problem in the winter, is not solely responsible for a bed shortage at Kingman Regional Medical Center.

"We cannot attribute the (bed) shortage only to the flu," said Beverly Mracek, associate administrator of patient care services at KRMC.

"We're seeing a variety of problems from fractured hips to heart attack, stroke and pneumonia."

"The bed shortage has been off and on all winter, but in the last couple of days it has become a little more critical."

KRMC is licensed as a 124-bed facility.

But because an expansion project has temporarily closed some areas, the hospital has only 112 beds, Mracek said.

The situation should improve soon with the opening of second- and third-floor rooms in the north tower, which will increase bed capacity to 193, associate administrator Steve White said.

"I wish my crystal ball would tell me just when those new beds will be available," White said.

"But I don't foresee the second floor opening until late February or early March and the third floor before mid-March."

The hospital has operated under a condition known as "code purple" this winter, Mracek said.

"We call a code purple whenever we have more potential admissions than we have beds," she said.

"We have meetings every morning and afternoon to assess each department to see if we have any potential discharges, whether we may have to cancel elective surgeries, and what the situation is with other hospitals in the state and in Las Vegas."

Monday was a day when there were no beds to be found anywhere, she said.

KRMC has two pediatric beds at present, but nine pediatric patients were being cared for Monday, Mracek said.

"What we've done with the code purple is develop a patient holding area," she said.

"Whenever we have patients truly needing a hospital admission and we have no beds and can't find one (at another hospital), we place the patient in a holding area and staff it accordingly until we can place the patient."

Mracek said the longest code purple called this winter has been three days.

The hospital has been operating in a code-purple condition again since Monday.

Despite the bed shortage, there is no staff shortage in the emergency room.

Nurses and technicians have willingly worked extra shifts during times of high patient volume, Mracek said.

However, emergency room walk-in patients have a six- to eight-hour wait.

Mracek suggested patients see their family doctor if at all possible, unless they have a serious ailment.