Ephraim McDowell emergency department adds new physicians

November 09, 2003

Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center's emergency department has a new team of emergency medical physicians. They include Drs. John Mullins, James Foster, Joachim Franklin, Arturo Portales and Chris Pund. They join Dr. Bryan Wood and Dr. Erech Bell, full-time physicians who have been on the emergency department staff the past few years.

"Our new team of emergency department physicians are well-trained to handle all types of emergencies and are keenly aware of the importance of having a close working relationship with the other physicians on the medical staff," said Linda Lalor, director of the emergency department.

Ephraim McDowell's emergency department is staffed 24 hours a day with a physician, registered nurses, technicians and unit secretaries. One physician is always on duty to see patients at all times. From noon to midnight each day, a second physician is on staff to assist with less emergent cases.

People sometimes visit the emergency department when their family doctor's office is closed or their need for medical care is too great for the doctor's office. The emergency department physicians work closely with other physicians to inform and consult with them about their patient's visit and treatment.


Once patients who come into the emergency department are admitted to the Medical Center, they are turned over to the care of their own physician.

Generally, patients treated in Ephraim McDowell's emergency department stay an average of two hours, although that stay may extend to three or three and one-half hours if the patient is being admitted to the hospital.

"That time is significantly less than the average time that patients spend in emergency departments nationwide," Dr. Foster said. "On average, nearly 85 percent of the patients who come to the emergency department at Ephraim McDowell are seen by a physician in less than 30 minutes after their arrival."

One of the ways the quality of the medical care provided through Ephraim McDowell's emergency department is measured is in how well it meets national standards of care for certain illnesses.

"Two of the illnesses we are doing exceptionally well with are pneumonia and chest pain," Mullins said. "We are well above the standard for giving pneumonia patients their first dose of antibiotic before they are transported to an inpatient room and we meet the standard for administering clot-busting drugs to patients with chest pain within 30 minutes of their arrival to the emergency department."

According to Mullins, approximately 15 percent of all patients seen at the emergency department may be admitted to the hospital because of their illness. That is a little higher than the national average of approximately 12 percent.

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