Quality Emergency Care When Moments Matter

“I knew that at Robert Packer [Hospital], I didn’t have to worry about a doctor making the right decision or what they were gonna do. I knew I was in good hands. … I didn’t worry about that.” – Curt, Guthrie patient 

“It’s a great hospital and I don’t know where Curt would be right now if it wasn’t right there, that close for us. It took a lot of doctors … to pull him through.” – Kim, Curt’s wife 

It was a cold, snowy northeastern Pennsylvania day and Curt was enjoying a ride on his snowmobile.

“The next thing that I remember, [I] was out of breath, laying on the ice,” Curt says.

“It’s a great hospital and I don’t know where Curt would be right now if it wasn’t right there.”


Curt’s wife

He would later learn he had a punctured lung, nine ribs broken in 15 different places, lacerations on his liver and on both kidneys, and a fractured right shoulder.

Curt was in excruciating pain. As an ambulance rushed him to Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital’s Emergency Department, he told his son he did not think he would make it.

“He just couldn’t catch his breath,” his wife, Kim, says. “And he just kept saying ‘I’m in so much pain’ and just shaking all over.”

While doctors treated Curt, Kim and other family members gathered in an ICU patient waiting area. Before long, about 30 family members had filled the room.

“I do remember waking up and looking over and seeing my family members there. At that point I thought … ‘I gotta pull through this. … Whatever it is, I gotta get better for them,” Curt says. 

Help Us Bring the Emergency Department ‘Forward Together’

Curt is getting better every day, thanks to the robust specialty care he received at Guthrie – the kind of care that makes this health system unique among large rural hospitals.

“We have almost every specialty you can imagine here, so we have a lot of resources,” says Marc Harris, DO, FACEP, Chairman, Emergency Medicine at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital.

Because of this, in addition to all the patients Guthrie serves from the immediate area, many patients who need more advanced emergency are transferred to Guthrie from smaller hospitals that are farther away. For this reason and others, the number of patients seen at the Emergency Department rose to nearly 37,000 in 2017, significantly above its intended capacity of 28,000 patients per year.

In order to continue offering the highest level of care to every patient who walks through its doors, the Emergency Department is in critical need of expansion. To meet this need, Guthrie created Forward Together, a campaign that is raising funds to double the department’s size to nearly 26,000 square feet. This larger space will have patient treatment rooms that are 33% larger, including a number of individual rooms with sliding doors that provide patients with more privacy. It will also foster smoother, more efficient movement of providers, support staff, and patients throughout the space.

“Our goal is to have little to no wait time for patients coming in, so we’ll be able to get them placed immediately,” Dr. Harris says.