Emergency Room Entrance

Patients are dying in emergency rooms of small Kansas hospitals as larger hospitals that are struggling with soaring staff absences and COVID-19 cases turn down transfers.

Hospitals across the state painted a dire picture of worsening conditions.

They say they are struggling to keep up with the demand for testing, and that surgeries are being delayed and clinics canceled.

Motient, a company that helps manage transfers, said there has been a five-fold increase in patients dying while waiting to be transferred.

Salina Regional Health has been limiting surgeries because of a staffing crunch that has made it difficult to keep up with the surge in patients.

The hospital’s chief medical officer said another hospital official told him that two heart attack patients had died in the past two weeks while waiting to be transferred.

Hays Medical Center declined 300 transfers over the past month.