Chattanooga cancer patient left in bed in Erlanger Hospital hallway for hours

The rush of patients at local hospitals pushed a high risk cancer patient into the hallway for hours. (Image: Allan Hall)

The flu outbreak is leaving Chattanooga hospitals packed with people in need of care. The rush of patients pushed a high-risk cancer patient into the hospital hallway for hours.

Trish Hall was diagnosed with brain cancer a year and a half ago.

"Unfortunately, its location makes it where they can't remove it surgically and they've done all the radiation they can. So, the only option she has right now is chemo," said Allan Hall, Trish's husband.

Right now, Trish is dealing with it the best she can, but it's not always easy.

Tuesday night, she experienced some abnormal swelling and her doctor advised her to head straight to the ER.

"She stayed in the ER in one of their side rooms for about 24 hours. Last night, at 9:15 or so, they moved her out into the hall," Allan added.

Something that Allan says left him concerned for Trish's already fragile health.

"With the chemo drugs, it takes out your white blood cells and your ability to fight off diseases, and so you have a chemo patient laying for 15 hours where everybody that has the flu comes through there - literally walks right by her. When she eats, if they were to sneeze or contaminate, her food is right there," Allan said.

Thursday, we asked Erlanger why this happened.

"If we filled up and closed our doors, those patients would have no where to go. Those that might not be as acute or sick, we may move them into a floor holding pattern temporarily," said Dr. Ron Buchheit, Emergency Medicine Physician at Erlanger.

Allan says Thursday afternoon Trish was finally moved into her own room.

A small relief in the fight for his wife's life.

"Short of divine intervention. It is what it is," said Allan.

Erlanger says they treat every single patient they see with the highest quality care they can provide.

Dr. Buchheit tells us the state is urging people to try to manage non-complex flu cases at a doctor's office or urgent care.

This helps hospitals keep those beds open for people who need them the most.