Some ambulances have been forced to wait as long as 12 hours outside Memphis hospitals to drop off patients, according to the Memphis Fire Fighters Association.
The problem appears to be tied to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, which has brought many hospitals to capacity.
Tuesday afternoon, the Memphis Fire Department confirmed ambulances were backed up at St. Francis’ Park Avenue location as well as at Methodist South, where the wait time was reportedly an hour long.
“I wish it was an hour ‘cause it’s a lot longer than an hour that they’ve been waiting. We’ve had them wait as long as 10, 12 hours,” said Thomas Malone, president of the Memphis Fire Fighters Association which also represents paramedics.
Malone said ambulance wait times began building in early December –- around the same time COVID cases spiked.
He worries to long waits will prevent ambulances from responding to emergencies. At a single hospital, he said 14 ambulances were waiting to drop off patients one day.