QUINCY — People seeking medical attention over the weekend, including concert-goers from the Gorge Amphitheatre, overwhelmed the emergency room at Quincy Valley Medical Center for several hours.
The influx of people forced hospital officials to divert patients to other facilities for one hour on Saturday afternoon, and for four hours early Sunday morning, said hospital spokeswoman Michele Wurl.
“It’s not unusual for this to happen one to two times per summer,” Wurl said. Concerts at the Gorge are the main reasons it happens, although patient loads can get heavy on holidays such as the Fourth of July when people flock to Crescent Bar and other Grant County tourist locations.
The Quincy hospital is about 15 miles from the Gorge.
The Paradiso Festival last weekend was the first time patients had to be diverted this summer, she said.
“We treat it like an emergency exercise, which it is,” she said. “We open up various rooms that, Monday through Friday, might be used for something else.”
They also bring in about 10 extra personnel. Those include doctors, nurses, physicians assistants and aides. Additional staff also includes two people to regulate patient flow, and one person to enter doctors’ orders.
Planning for concert weekends begins as soon as the concert season is announced, Wurl said. The staff is lined up in advance.
She called the situation last weekend “busy but a very controlled atmosphere.”
Officials with the Gorge told hospital officials in advance that the Paradiso Festival should draw those ages 18 to 25 years old. That festival featured electronic music.
The next concert at the Gorge is July 20 and features John Mayer and Phillip Phillips. Those artists, Wurl said, should draw a somewhat older crowd, which may mean fewer hospital visits.