Mercy San Juan Emergency Room Closure Leaves Patients Out in the Cold

CARMICHAEL -- One patient described them as beer garden tents -- not at all what you expect to see or wait under outside when you come to a hospital for emergency care -- but that's just what's happening at Mercy San Juan Hospital.

Patient families called FOX40 frustrated after seeing the accommodations put in place for the sick during hospital construction.

Several of those on site were too ill or too nervous to speak on camera about their distaste for the lobby situation since they were still waiting for care.

But one relative who got a call once their shocked loved one arrived there agreed to speak with FOX40 by phone if we didn't name him.

"Anybody with any type of illness I'm sure doesn't want sit outside in the cold.  I have a family member who's been there since two this afternoon, sitting outside," he said.

"I think it's kind of an atrocity actually, that the hospital knowing that they were going into a remodel, um, on the emergency room or portion of their hospital, wouldn't have had the forward-thinking enough to set up something that would at least allow emergency patients to sit indoors on a night like tonight or any other night."

Over the phone, communications specialist for Mercy San Juan/ Dignity Health Anissa Routon told FOX40:

"Our priority is to try and give our patients the best possible care and experience.  We recognize the temporary ER lobby is a different lobby arrangement than what they're used to. We are trying to minimize time spent at the temporary lobby."

Several patients waiting outside in the ER area of Mercy San Juan said they weren't bothered by the tent arrangements, feeling that the hospital was doing what it had to given the circumstances.

One patient on her way out was quick to share that she had received excellent care.

None of those patients wanted to speak on camera either.

Routon says the tent-ER lobby will be in place for several weeks.