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Atrium Health MED-1 deployed to help increase access to care

First activated in 2005, the mobile hospital can serve several functions.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As we head into the holidays under the triple threat of COVID-19, flu, and RSV, Charlotte hospitals are preparing for a potential surge. 

Atrium Health’s Mobile Emergency Department, MED-1, will be deployed to Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center and Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital to help with emergency department services.

Both pediatric and adult emergency departments in the Charlotte area are experiencing an increase in patients due to the rise in respiratory illnesses. MED-1 is expected to help increase access to care. 

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“Everyone is coming together to make sure that we here at Atrium are here to support our entire community” Monica Watts, manager of the Children's Emergency Room at Levine Children's Hospital, said.

The emergency department on wheels was developed in 2000 and has 14 acute care beds and a two-bed operating room.

Atrium Health has two such mobile hospitals, which can be used for several purposes, including caring for patients when there is a need to increase hospital capacity.

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MED-1 was first deployed for nearly two months in 2005 to coastal Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina, where 7,500 patients were treated. Recently, in 2021, it was used to help with the surge of patients during the pandemic. It can also help less critical patients, providing added bed space.

The activation of MED-1 couldn't be more timely. Doctors say if your child is severely sick or having difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical care. If not, make an appointment with your primary care doctor, urgent care, or a virtual visit. 

“You know your child best; you know if it can’t wait,” Watts said.   

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Health experts say if you're not feeling well you should stay home and cancel Thanksgiving plans. It's also important to be up to date on both COVID-19 and flu vaccinations.

Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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