UNM Hospital ER Wait Time More than Double National Average

The University of New Mexico Hospital is the largest in the state and sees approximately 93,000 emergency room visitors each year.

UNM Hospital ER Wait Time More than Double National Average

The average wait time for an emergency room visit in the U.S. is four hours.

The University of New Mexico Hospital’s emergency room wait time is more than double the national average of four hours.

According to KOAT, the average wait time for patients in the adult emergency room at UNM Hospital is nine hours and thirty minutes.

Last year, the average wait time was seven hours and thirty minutes.

A spokesperson with the hospital says it has put forth changes in the last six months to help improve wait times, emphasizing that the hospital is usually more than 90 percent full.

Nyira Gitana, a woman who took her friend to the emergency room on Tuesday, says they waited for 14 hours before they were seen.

“I thought I was walking into a refugee camp, that’s how awful it was. Some of them were drunk, some of them were mentally ill,” says Gitana.

According to its website, UNM Hospital manages 93,000 emergency visits, 7,000 trauma cases, 18,000 surgeries and 491,000 outpatient visits annually.

It is the largest hospital in New Mexico with 629 licensed beds and 6,777 full-time employees, reports Albuquerque Business First.

The hospital is currently in the process of receiving authorization to build a new hospital which was unanimously approved by UNM’s Health Sciences Center Committee in May. The first phase will include a facility with 120 beds.

The hospital’s committee must still receive approval from the full UNM Board of Regents before moving forward.

“We’ve been in need for both additional beds and to replace the current facility, which is simply not adequate to meet modern medical needs of patients,” says Paul Roth, chancellor of the Health Sciences Center.

Despite the long wait time, Gitana says Albuquerque police officers and hospital security were doing what they could to control the hectic emergency room. She had no complaints about the actual medical treatment her friend received after the 14-hour wait.

“They provided exceptional care”, says Gitana.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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