Emergency room forced to close for shift

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Roosevelt General Hospital’s emergency room was closed and patients were diverted to Clovis for a time Tuesday night and Wednesday morning because the contract doctor was unable to work his shift.

RGH Administrator James D’Agostino said an ER doctor was unavailable for a single 12-hour shift and patients were diverted to Clovis’ Plains Regional Medical Center.

He said the RGH was notified by the company that provides contract physicians for the ER shortly before the shift that they would be unable to provide a doctor that night.

D’Agostino said that on the rare occasions the same problem has occurred, he has always been able to find a local doctor to fill in. This time, he said vacations and physicians out of town taking board exams left him with only the option of closing down briefly.

“This is the first time since the hospital opened that we’ve missed a shift,” D’Agostino said.
Pam Preston of Portales said she was frustrated and upset after her daughter, who is seven months into a problem pregnancy, went to
the emergency room around midnight Tuesday only to be told she would have to go to Clovis.

“To know she can’t have the immediate care is agitating,” Preston said.

Preston said her daughter was checked out in Clovis and everything turned out fine but that didn’t lessen the frustration.
D’Agostino said the need for diverting patients to Clovis is something that will come up from time to time, most often when RGH’s facility is full. He said it’s even possible that Clovis would have to divert to RGH.

“We’ve been blessed that it’s only happened once,” D’Agostino said, noting the hospital is often dependent on ER doctors from outside the community.

D’Agostino said the problem was not related to the recent problem of an ER doctor who worked briefly at RGH and was placed on hold here after a judgement in a lawsuit, not involving RGH, was handed down in Chaves County against him. D’Agostino said the timing of the two problems was not related.