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Local Nurses say ER's are in Crisis

By Eieeln Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Some local emergency room nurses say shutting down three area hospitals would spell big troubles for ER care. Members of the Communication Workers Local 1168 Nurses United say the Berger Commission's report would make already overcrowded emergency rooms a public safety threat.

Nurses United gathered in front of Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital in Buffalo yesterday. By state law, the Berger report calls to close Millard-Gates, St. Joseph and DeGraff Memorial. One-by-one Wednesday area nurses shared their E-R stories. They say emergency rooms are overcrowded and often operate on a delay and diversion.

The nurses conducted a survey over a three week period in May, finding that on the most crowded day, 13 of 14 ER's in Erie County were operating on delay.

Karen Taggart is an ER nurse at Buffalo General. She says their emergency room is severely over burdened. The nurses survey said, on average, 59% of ER's were operating either on delay or on diversion.

CWA Local 1168 president John Klein says while hospital admission volumes are down, the ER's are filled. Klein says this is the perfect argument to the State Health Department to keep the three hospitals open. The union continues calling on state lawmakers and the governor to reverse the closing report.

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