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Oil Boom's Impact on Medical Industry, Part 2

Medical Center Hospital's ER feeling affects of population growth
Odessa -- The exact numbers aren't even in, but there's no doubt, Odessa is growing fast.

"It's very hard to tell, but I think the consensus is that it has to be between seven and ten percent," said Virginia Belew, regional services director for Permian Basin Regional Planning Commission.
   
It's a boom that's being felt in doctors offices, emergency clinics and the Medical Center Hospital emergency room.

"With us being the leading trauma center of the region, we've seen quite an increase," said Kelly Lappe, MCH emergency services unit director. "It's been about 20 percent and a lot of those are trauma related."

That almost 20 percent increase was in just the last few months and any of those cases were tied to the oilfield.

"Severe broken bones. Falling off of equipment...tall equipment. We have people being ran over by equipment or pushed by equipment. We do have a lot of exposures, as well.  And, of course, our wrecks. We know that a lot of the reckless driving (and) the increase volumes on the roads has significantly increased our trauma," added Lappe.
   
Although the ER has seen a huge increase in traffic, the hospital's CEO believes it could've been a lot worse.

"In the past several years, we've added two Walmart walk-in clinics. We've also operationalized two urgent care centers," said Bill Webster, CEO of Medical Center Health System.
   
And they couldn't have come at a better time considering the growth in Ector County, not to mention a severe flu season.

"Having this extra capacity for primary care and for walk-in, short episodic type things has really helped better accommodate the increase volumes and not to back up our er too much," added Webster.
   
Webster says they also added 30 new physicians just last year to meet the growing demands. As the population continues to grow, Medical Center will continue to rise to the occasion. "We're committed to grow and expand and accommodate the growing population."

On a side note, if you are experiencing an emergency, you of course need to call 9-1-1 and get to an emergency room. But if you're not sure if it's an emergency, you can call 68-NURSE for some guidance. For minor emergencies and illnesses, you can visit you're primary care doctor or any of Medical Center's clinics or urgent care centers, visit this link to Medical Center Health System.

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