The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 7A
PATI TS of overcrowding. The hospital is adding
EI I I Iautomated services within the emergency
Continued from page 1A room to make patients' visits shorter. For
greater rates of home care, an aging example, the hospital has recently added
population that consumes many X-ray machines that send results instan-
health care services, and the fact that taneously to a computer screen viewed
hospitals are able to keep chroni- by physicians and support staff. Hospital
cally ill patients alive longer all have staff have also begun computerizing all
a huge impact on the overcrowding patient information and sending results
that hospitals are seeing today, Bar- via transportation tubes from one floor of
san said. the hospital to another.
Some of the patients crowding emer- These tubes allow for patients to be
gency rooms are often waiting to receive kept in one place, while test results are
care that could be administered elsewhere reviewed within minutes and sent quickly
in the hospital, if there were only enough back to the emergency room. Normally,
beds for them to use. patients must be transported outside the
But simply adding additional beds is emergency room to receive tests, adding
not necessarily a solution to this problem time to their hospital visits.
because the state puts a cap on the amount The hospital has also opened an occu-
of beds that a hospital is licensed to have. pational health care center alongside the
The University Hospital is licensed emergency room to filter out patients who
to operate 865 beds, but does not have need care, but are not in such critical con-
enough space to operate that many dition that they need to wait in the emer-
because some patients are sicker and gency room, Gavin said.
require more privacy. The Univer- But all these improvements appear
sity is currently using 786 beds, said to be somewhat of a "Catch 22," Barsan
Kathryn Gavin, spokeswoman for said. "Each time we get a little better, the
the hospital. number of patients goes up," he said.
Despite this, the hospital is actively It does not appear that the situation is
working to find solutions to the problem going to improve much, especially with
the michigan daily A
a national shortage of flu vaccines this
year, Gavin said. Every year, hundreds
of people flock to the emergency room
with bad cases of the flu, she said. This
year will be especially difficult consid-
ering that emergency rooms are already
overcrowded and flu season has not hit
yet. "It is going to be an interesting win-
ter," she added.
The University Hospital and other
highly rated hospitals are faced with
another dilemma - this one long-term
and possibly more serious than the
impending flu epidemic of this winter.
"What happens when there is an emer-
gency if all the beds are full?" Gavin
asked, referring to a natural disaster,
plane crash or terrorist attack.
With all of the improvements that the
hospital is trying to make, there is still a
long way to go. Despite this, Gavin said
the hospital is on par with similar hospi-
tals in the country in dealing with over-
crowding, and is doing better than most
But this is little consolation to patients
who must wait hours in order to receive
medical attention, like Deveaux, who
described his visit to the emergency
department as "pretty ridiculous."
Continued from page 1A
University spokeswoman Julie Peter-
son, however, said binge-drinking is
becoming more serious at the Univer-
sity. "We're now a high-binge campus.
We're above the national average (for
alcohol consumption)," Peterson said.
Piersante said problems with binge
drinking may also be related to the
larger freshman class.
"You have a large group of kids com-
ing on campus from the younger age
group of 18 and 19. I'm guessing a lot
of them have not had a lot of experience
with drinking - especially hard liquor
and binge drinking. They're not able to
judge what their body can tolerate and
their body becomes incapacitated," he
Despite the increase, Piersante said
DPS has not changed its stance with
regard to alcohol violations and has not
Under current alcohol laws, first-
time offenders receiving an MIP are
given a deferred sentence. If an offend-
er successfully completes probation,
the MIP will be completely taken off
the person's permanent record. This is
especially helpful when applying for
jobs, Piersante said. "It's taking into
consideration that there are a lot of
people under 21 - especially on a col-
lege campus - that are going to drink.
It's pretty harsh to have that on your
permanent record," he added.
Second- and third-time offenders,
however, will have harsher penalties.
Second-time offenders can face up
to 30 days in jail, while third-time
offenders can be sentenced to 60 days
Along with the increase in MIPs,
there has also been a slight increase in
citations for open containers of alcohol
in a motor vehicle, increasing from
none in 2003 to two this year. There
has been a decrease, however, in public
urination violations, from 33 in 2003 to
26 this year.
Other alcohol violations -including
alcohol in Michigan Stadium, on the
Diag, on University property and open
intoxicants in public - have declined
from 86 in 2003 to 63 this year.
Piersante attributed the decline in
alcohol violations to the University's
home football schedule this year.
Although the same number of football
games were played between Aug. 25
and Oct. 9 in 2003 and 2004, the Notre
Dame game was played at home last
Piersante said the Notre Dame and
Ohio State games always generate
high numbers of alcohol violations. In
fact, these two games alone can almost
double the statistics for alcohol viola-
tions in a given year. The game against
Michigan State causes a slight increase,
but it's not as bad, he added.
Piersante said the high number of
alochol violations are probably a result
of the intense rivalry and the teams'
short distance from one another.
Columbus, Ohio and South Bend, Ind.,
are fairly close to Ann Arbor, so a lot of
fans come from those schools. Because
they're a few hours away, however,
people tend to stay overnight and go to
parties, he added.
Piersante said DPS encourages stu-
dents to be safe while drinking. "Our
biggest concern for public safety con-
cerning underage drinking is don't put
yourself in harm's way - whether it be
in a vehicle or a potential assault situa-
tion," he added.
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