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Two IE hospitals unable to use brand new ER's

February 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
There is a frustrating situation at two Inland Empire hospitals. They have brand new emergency rooms they can't use.

"Sometimes I question whether I should make a longer drive to go to a different hospital for better E.R. conditions," said Murrieta resident Brandon Petrucci.

Petrucci was injured in a car wreck six years ago. Paralyzed from the waist down, he's been to the emergency rooms at Rancho Springs and Inland Valley Medical Center at least a dozen times.

Both are hospitals where some patients have said that they've waited more than eight hours before seeing a doctor. What's worse is that they have brand new, expanded emergency room bays, practically ready to go. But they have sat unused for more than two years now.

"I do hope things get cleared up and these new facilities get utilized," said Petrucci. "Because as of right now, these conditions are not acceptable."

The new emergency rooms bays aren't open because hospitals have set records for the number of times they've been fined for a variety of problems.

"In the meantime, until they get passed all their inspections, those 30 room bays remain closed," said Murrieta City Councilman Rick Gibbs. He said the state is being extra cautious in licensing the new rooms.

There might be some good news on the horizon though. A new management team is in place, and officials are hoping the state will certify these emergency room wards by this summer.

"Their response was, 'we need to clean up our problems,'" said Gibbs. "When it's obvious to the state that we've cleaned up our problems, they will allow us to open up our facility."

"I'm sure when these facilities open, people will be much more happy with their hospital experience," said Petrucci.

At a time when so many patients are looking for emergency rooms with hi-tech, online reservation systems, people at emergency rooms in Murrieta just want to get the doors open.

The parent company of both hospitals has refused to comment.