South Texas Health System Heart Doubles the Capacity of Its Emergency Department to Expand Its Treatment Capabilities

Wednesday, June 28, 2023
EMS professional in front of ambulance

It’s a simple fact: In an emergency, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. But what some people may not know is that the emergency department at South Texas Health System Heart is available to treat all kinds of medical emergencies, not just those related to the heart. And they’re able to handle more emergency cases after adding more beds.

In recent months, the STHS Heart emergency department has seen a 10% increase in volume compared to the same period last year. To meet the growing demand for emergency services of all types, the hospital has hired additional staff and doubled the number of available patient beds from seven to 14.

“Increasing our staffing and capacity is crucial to helping us take care of the communities we serve,” said Joseph Barry, Director of Nursing, STHS Heart. “By expanding our ER services, we’re able to help address the demand at South Texas Health System’s other emergency departments, including the Level I Trauma Center at STHS McAllen. For low acuity patients, meaning their injury or illness requires less intensive care, we can help handle those cases and alleviate the burden at facilities like STHS McAllen. We’re open to take patients at any time, no matter their medical issue or ailment.”

In addition to doubling the bed capacity, the emergency department has also added a registered nurse during the mid-shift period every day of the week, which helps in handling the fluctuation and increased volume of patients seen throughout the day. Additionally, a licensed vocational nurse has been added to the team to assist the registered nurses.

Emergency Services at STHS Heart

Learn more about our emergency department →

Despite having ‘heart’ in its name, Barry wants the community to rest assured that STHS Heart’s emergency department can handle a multitude of emergencies beyond cardiac-related issues. In fact, STHS Heart is designated as a Basic Level IV Trauma Center by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), meaning that it can provide evaluation, stabilization and diagnostic capabilities for injured patients and has transfer agreements in place for patients who may require more comprehensive trauma and critical care at a Level I Trauma Center like STHS McAllen. Additionally, the facility is also designated a Primary (Level II) Stroke Center by the TDSHS.

“All emergency departments need to be able to provide care of any type of injury or illness, 24/7, 365 days a year,” Barry added. “Don’t let our name fool you. We don’t just treat heart-related conditions. We’re here for everything from broken arms and lacerations to abdominal pain and headaches — we’re able to take care of all that.”

The availability of STHS Heart’s emergency department means McAllen residents don’t have to go far to receive exceptional emergency care with limited wait times, which average three to five minutes at STHS Heart.

After all, saving precious minutes that could mean the difference in saving a life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a medical emergency, seek immediate medical attention. Call 9-1-1 or head to the nearest emergency room.

South Texas Health System is home to 10 emergency departments, including six freestanding emergency departments throughout the region. To find an ER near you, visit