Rural Patients, at Risk as Busy Tucson, Phoenix Hospitals, Refuse Referrals, Doctors Say | Attendees

But referrals for other critical medical needs are failing, he said.

“People have died, people are suffering,” he said. “The usual standard of care is no longer applicable under the current circumstances.”

In Green Valley, Harris said the only reason his patient survived Friday was because Dr. Sylvain Sidi in Tucson drove to Tucson on Friday night and performed the required surgery.

“We started calling the Tucson and Phoenix hospitals and everyone refused us,” he said. The patient was alive, Harris said, “just because this doctor was kind enough was he human enough to save his life.”

Laguillo wants the state to open a line to all patients in critical need, not just those with COVID-19.

If the patient doesn’t need help because of COVID, there is often no way of finding out where there are openings without making endless phone calls.

“Now more than ever, we need the same kind of service for every patient, not just for the COVID patient,” he said of the line. He wants this line to provide information about neighboring states, not just Arizona.

Rural hospitals in Arizona have sent patients to New Mexico, Utah and Colorado, Anthony Gimino, a spokesman for the Pima County’s Department of Health, said Monday.

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