A close call
4 Images

Emergency Rooms Endangered

A CLOSE CALL: Nodrigo Plata, 6, leans against his mother, Naty Mercado, in the emergency room of Downey Regional Medical Center. The hospital had considered closing the ER a year ago, but a new Medi-Cal reimbursement contract kept it open. (Gary Friedman / LAT)
PATIENT CARE: Dr. Richard Guess, center, and Dr. Daniel Kahsai work in the Downey hospital’s bustling emergency room. (Gary Friedman / LAT)
HECTIC PACE: The ER at Downey Regional Medical Center typically is at capacity by noon daily and stays full until midnight. (Gary Friedman / LAT)
IN A RUSH: A patient arrives in Downey’s ER, which sees 4,000 to 4,500 patients a month, more than Memorial or King/Drew. (Gary Friedman / LAT)