St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank withdrew from Los Angeles County's trauma network Monday, leaving officials from nearby hospitals fearing an increase in the number of critically ill patients they must treat.
"We're not adding any more staff to handle the expected increase, but psychologically we're gearing up," said John McConnellogue, director of Northridge Hospital Medical Center's emergency department.
St. Joseph officials announced in April that they were dropping out of the network because of a lack of funds.
"We will no longer have a general surgeon on duty 24 hours a day like before," a St. Joseph spokeswoman said. "But we will still have a full basic emergency department."
Ten of 23 hospitals have dropped out of the county's trauma care network since it was formed in 1984.