NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Emergency rooms are packed with patients, who can face hours to be admitted or never see a doctor, according to two new studies from Yale University.

The studies found that when hospitals were at 85% occupancy, patients were waiting more than six hours for a bed.

“They’re trying to do the best they can caring for patients, but they don’t have resources and environment around them that’s ready to do that,” said Dr. Arjun Venkatesh with Yale Medicine Emergency Medicine. “And across the country, we see that and we hear that. So, really, trying to not just care for patients, but care for the caregivers is going to be important if we’re going to lift ourselves out of this problem.”

The number of patients leaving without ever being seen by a doctor doubled from 2017 to 2020, as well.

And when they return, many of those patients return with worse symptoms than when they initially arrived.

Doctors said there is not an overnight fix to the issue, and that the studies reveal a deeper problem within the entire health care system.

Links to studies:

Hospital Occupancy and Emergency Department Boarding During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Monthly Rates of Patients Who Left Before Accessing Care in US Emergency Departments, 2017-2021