AVH hit with usual holiday storm | AspenTimes.com
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AVH hit with usual holiday storm

Joel Stonington

A major car accident and vicious gastrointestinal illness added to the usual holiday business at Aspen Valley Hospital this season.Demand for hospital beds always picks up during the holidays, but this year didn’t differ significantly from the last. “No matter how you look at it, it’s a busy day in the emergency room,” said AVH spokeswoman Ginny Dyche. “If you look at Christmas Eve through Jan. 1, we were up about 3 percent from the previous year. New Year’s Eve was our busiest day both years during that time period.”Emergency room doctor Greg Balko said a few incidents added to the rush this year, such as a car wreck last week with one death. There was also a major outbreak of gastrointestinal illness, in which people were treated with IV fluids and nausea medicine.”On average we were seeing about eight-10 a day with it for at least a two-week period,” Balko said. “Those people ended up having to stay in the ER for at least a few hours. It was laying people out pretty bad.”He said the holidays are really when the hospital’s busy season starts. So the hospital ramps up staffing, bringing more nurses into the ER.There were 841 patients between Dec. 19 and Jan. 5. From January to March about 1,000 patients are expected each month. On Jan. 1, there were 71 hospital visits, nearly the same number as last year but well below the high of 110 on Dec. 31, 1989. “When the ski hill’s busy, we’re busy,” Balko said. “This year, number wise, was about the same as usual. It felt unusual based on what we were taking care of.”There were also a number of skiing accidents and roughly half a dozen minors who were intoxicated. “When you get through [the holiday season], there’s definitely a sigh to know we’ve made it,” Balko said, “but we know we’ll be busy through mid-April.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com


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