Students wait weeks for appointments at 'extraordinarily busy' NC State Campus Health Center

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ByCindy Bae via WTVD logo
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
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NC State said Campus Health has been "extraordinarily busy with cases of seasonal flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), COVID-19 and stress/anxiety."

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- For some students at NC State in need of an appointment at the Campus Health Center, it took weeks.

"I was sick, like my throat hurt, and I wanted to see them," freshman Mary Hanna Bryant said. "I kind of needed to see them that day. They said I wasn't going to be able to make an appointment until the next Wednesday so it would've been like the next week."

Some parents also took to Facebook with the same complaint.

"Took my daughter 2.5 weeks to get an apt (sic) when she was feeling awful mid-month," one parent said.

Bryant said she ended up getting a ride to an urgent-care clinic instead. The freshman is now hesitant to rely on Campus Health again.

"I feel like State does a lot of things, they do look out for us in a lot of ways, but that is one way where I've been disappointed," Bryant said. "I feel like most people I've talked to haven't been able to get appointments here. They've had to go other places and a lot of people have been sick and I feel like it hasn't really worked out for anyone."

NC State said Campus Health has been "extraordinarily busy with cases of seasonal flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), COVID-19 and stress/anxiety."

"There have also been an increasing number of students catching up on required immunizations this year," NC State said. "Campus Health has increased appointment slots, kept staff meeting times to a minimum and adjusted staff vacation requests to help meet the need."

Students are also more likely to come to Campus Health for preventative care or for less severe symptoms, according to NC State, which said most in the healthcare community are facing the very same issues.

Hospitals also facing challenges

In North Carolina, there's been increased levels of influenza and RSV this year compared to the same time in recent previous years, according to NCDHHS.

"Hospitals in North Carolina are doing the best they can to see all patients, but some North Carolina hospitals have been unable to accept transfers from other hospitals that are not part of their normal referral networks due to the high number of children with RSV and the limited number pediatric intensive care unit beds," NCDHHS said.

At Duke Health, there's a surge of respiratory viral-related infections causing respiratory failure in children needing admission for oxygen therapy, according to Dr. Sameer Kamath, the chief medical officer for Duke Children's

"We've also seen an increase in behavioral health-related admissions in our pediatric patients," Kamath said.

Duke Health has been triaging last month and trying to support the usual volume while managing vital surgeon admissions.

"We have been able to keep all of our activated beds open and serve children as best as possible," Kamath said. "We are hearing the similar crisis across the state and across the nation of the district to respiratory viral illnesses in children needing hospitalization."

WakeMed has also seen high numbers of RSV and influenza.

"We've seen a 300% increase in flu from week to week starting with last week," infection prevention specialist Jessica Dixon said. "So that's definitely concerning."

But Dixon said they're able to manage high patient volumes despite expecting a "really challenging winter."

"What we do need is help from the community to kind of triage where you seek care to save the emergency department for those true emergencies that are life- and limb-threatening and to seek care from urgent cares from your primary care providers for pediatricians whenever you have something that can be handled in that setting," Dixon said.