SEATTLE, April 4 (UPI) -- Hospitals in King County, Wash., have agreed to stop diverting critically ill patients to hospitals that have an open bed, a report said.
Now, such patients will be treated at the nearest hospital and then sent to a facility that has a bed available under an agreement among hospitals and the Central Region Emergency Medical Services & Trauma Care Council.
"We all agreed that philosophically, it was not OK, and ethically, it wasn't OK," council Chairwoman Chris Martin told the Seattle Times. "We're going to take the word 'divert' totally out of our vocabulary."
While most hospitals have sufficient emergency facilities, Martin said the problem has been where to put patients after their initial treatment.
Under the previous system, some hospitals refused up to 25 percent of critically ill patients, resulting in paramedic complaints about traveling long distances and wasting time to find a hospital to treat such people, she said.