Hospital overwhelmed with kids in crisis being dropped at ER doors
Masonic Children's created a makeshift holding unit in an ambulance bay to try and meet the demand
May 12, 2022
Children who lash out in homes and protective placements are increasingly being dropped off at the M Health Fairview Masonic Children's Hospital, prompting the creation of a makeshift shelter in an ambulance garage.
While hospitals have always been a place of last resort for children in emotional or behavioral crises, Fairview leaders said counties and social service providers are using their pediatric emergency room at an unprecedented rate. Normally expecting one or two such cases a month, the Minneapolis pediatric hospital has taken in 145 children since September - with most staying about 15 days and one staying 97 days.
Hospitals already are strained by children suffering from heightened anxiety, depression and other mental health issues and needing inpatient care amid the pandemic. A few of the children being sheltered in the ambulance bay are in that category - needing mental health evaluations and awaiting open inpatient psychiatric beds. The rest have behavioral disorders or long-standing developmental disabilities, such as autism, but no acute medical issues for the hospital to treat.