What is a hospital's definition of an emergency?

Discussion in 'Health and Lifestyle' started by fuzzykitten99, Jan 24, 2005.

  1. fuzzykitten99
    Offline

    fuzzykitten99 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    Messages:
    2,965
    Thanks Received:
    199
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    You'll have to check the Marauder's Map...
    Ratings:
    +199
    Yesterday we made a trip down to the emergency room because my son had tripped and hit his head on the corner of the wooden chest we have in the living room. It bled quite a bit, but with pressure, we got it to stop just as the ambulance arrived. Because we were able to get it to stop enough, they said they think it would be best if we took him the hospital ourselves, because the loud ambulance and strange people would just scare him more, because he is so little (17 months).

    Anyway, we get to the hospital, and we see all these people in the waiting room. One infant next to us (through me talking to the mother) had a 104 temp...in a baby under a year, that can be lethal. She had him in nothing but a diarper and onsie, and he was still boiling hot. She had been sitting there for 2 hours before we got there. While waiting our turn, a lady came in with what looked like a broken ankle, with 2 people carrying her. They asked when they could get in, and the nurse said about 4 hours. They used the phone and called one of the urgent care clinics, and they told her they would be able to see her immediately. I wish I would have thought of that instead of sitting there forever, with my husband trying to keep our son from touching the cut. I had a hard time keeping the gauze on him because I would struggle and it would start bleeding again. After 2 hours of sitting in the waiting room, I went up to the nurse as nicely as I could and told her that my son NEEDED to be seen sooner because he keeps bumping the cut, and it keeps bleeding, and I am sure they don't want blood to get onto anyone else or the chairs or anything. It wasn't bleeding that bad, but it was enough to get all over me while trying to hold the gauze on my crying, hungry son. They wouldn't let us feed him for fear of concussion, and the possibility of having to sedate him. I know the side effects of sedation, and I didn't want him to go through that. Plus that would add 4-5 hours to the whole thing. So he's hungry, tired (it was well past his naptime), bleeding and hurting, and there's nothing we can really do to help him. I finally got upset enough that my husband went and got some milk and cookies for him. He wolfed those down in about 2 minutes.

    They finally called us in, and numbed his cut up, which took an hour in itself. They had to wrap him in a blanket and strap him down. He was so mad and upset, I was praying that this would not scar him emotionally. I have never heard him scream and cry like that-I had to choke back tears to keep talking to him to help at least calm him. My husband wasn't in the room while he was being stitched up because he is too squeamish, and couldn't handle hearing Nathan cry like that. He must have worn himself out, and must have been so tired, he actually fell asleep about 2 minutes before the Dr. was done. He got 8 stitches, and has to go in on friday to get checked out, and make sure there is no infection, that it is healing well, etc. The stitches will dissolve on their own.

    We got to the hospital at about 11 am, and didn't get home until after 5. I know that sometimes they get busy, but c'mon. One guy came in with his thumb half cut off, and they made him sit down and wait too.

    What is THEIR definition of an emergency?
     
  2. no1tovote4
    Offline

    no1tovote4 VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    10,294
    Thanks Received:
    616
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Colorado
    Ratings:
    +616
    Triage is a crappy job that nobody appreciates. Since your son was unlikely to die they had to take people that were likely to die first. There was likely an emergency of epic proportions going on in the background that nobody in the waiting room knew anything about.

    I can't believe when they brought their son in with a 104 temp they didn't at least give her some alcohol pads with which to bring the temp down. (Rub it on the skin evaporation helps to keep the temp down.)

    It sounds like this particular hospital was short on Doctors as the young person with the high temp would normally be seen rather quickly.
     
  3. dilloduck
    Offline

    dilloduck Diamond Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Messages:
    53,240
    Thanks Received:
    5,552
    Trophy Points:
    1,850
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Ratings:
    +6,403

    I used to work full time at one-----now just part time.

    Emergency means life or death situations---everything else is handled through an assessmenst process called triage, which is basically prioritizing the need for treament and working within the parameters of which Drs. are available. Unfortunately too many people use the ER as if it were a Dr.s' office and go there to treat everything,anytime . Makes it tough on the staff but 99.9% of the time they get it right
     
  4. fuzzykitten99
    Offline

    fuzzykitten99 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    Messages:
    2,965
    Thanks Received:
    199
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    You'll have to check the Marauder's Map...
    Ratings:
    +199
    but this is a level 4 trauma center. They have more than enough doctors, especially in the winter.
     
  5. dilloduck
    Offline

    dilloduck Diamond Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Messages:
    53,240
    Thanks Received:
    5,552
    Trophy Points:
    1,850
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Ratings:
    +6,403
    If the child lived they did their job. That is the perspective they are coming from.
     
  6. no1tovote4
    Offline

    no1tovote4 VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    10,294
    Thanks Received:
    616
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Colorado
    Ratings:
    +616

    In this case they were clearly occupied. The hospital would not make you sit there if they were available for care. Like any other business they want their employees working...

    Unfortunately while uncomfortable your child was unlikely to die and therefore was low on the triage pole.
     
  7. krisy
    Offline

    krisy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Messages:
    1,919
    Thanks Received:
    112
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Ohio
    Ratings:
    +112
    We have a hospital down the street that is slower than molasses. The Cincinnati Children's Hspital here though is pretty good. When my 4 year old daughter was a baby,she got brochialitus(sp?) at 3 months. Her pulse ox was down to 80 something when we got there,but the nurse didn't know that. Because her instincts were good,she saw our daughter right away and got her on oxygen. Last summer my son got in the bathtub and a couple of minutes layter was screaming for me. I ran in and there was blood pouring down his leg. My daughter had left a little tiny teapot in the tub and he was goofing off and fell on it. He had to get stitches in his rear. Even though it wasn't life threatening,they saw him fast then too.

    On the other hand,I remember a couple of times when my son was a baby and had serious diarrhea and fever and we were sent to the E.R. and sat for hours. I remember a teenage boy came in that had been siphoning gasoline by mouth,and swallowed some. Being an upset mom,Iwas pissed off that they saw someone that stupid over my kid,even though I knew they had too.As hard as it was,I figured there was probably something more serious than what our problem was. I feel your pain though. Sitting in the E.R. with a sick kid is no fun at all!!!
     
  8. speederdoc
    Offline

    speederdoc Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    258
    Thanks Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Houston
    Ratings:
    +28
    Bingo. You win.

    If you are upset you have to wait a while to be seen in the ER for a cut...ask yourself this....when could your personal physician see you? Tomorrow? Maybe. More likely next week. Then ask yourself if you really are more important than the other 20 people who are waiting to see me. And then realize that if you were really that important, then your personal physician would come to see you himself.

    The ER is busy because we are the place people can go for any medical problem, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including holidays, whether they can afford to pay (or intend to pay) or not, and be seen the same day, without appointment. And to those who think we need to hire more doctors or nurses to see people quicker, well, the hospital isn't interested in getting you seen all that quickly. Just quickly enough that no adverse effects occur from the wait is good enough. Since we are forced by federal law to see everybody regardless of ability to pay, the ER isn't really a big moneymaker for the hospital. So they don't want to encourage people to go there by making it too pleasant.

    The wait isn't all the ER's fault anyway, it's the hospital that often gets us backed up. Nursing shortage = less wards open = fuller wards = decreased bed availability = holding admissions in the ER = less rooms to see new patients = longer waiting time for you.

    I start a shift at 10 PM, and sometimes begin seeing patients that checked in at 2 or 3 PM. The angry guy at the doorway, arms crossed, making a point to look at his watch and say "I'VE BEEN HERE FOUR HOURS!!!!!". Sorry sir, I just got here myself, and I'm going to see the lady who has been waiting 6 hours first. Basically, all potentially life-threatening conditions have to be evaluated before we can get to the cuts and sprains.


    Oh, and a fever of 104 in a one year old is not likely to be lethal. Uncomfortable, yes. Lethal, not likely at all. This is the only country in the world I bet where everybody rushes their kid to the ER for a freaking fever.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  9. Mr. P
    Offline

    Mr. P Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Messages:
    11,329
    Thanks Received:
    618
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    South of the Mason Dixon
    Ratings:
    +618
    Don't worry about that, wait till ya get the BILL! :)
     
  10. speederdoc
    Offline

    speederdoc Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    258
    Thanks Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Houston
    Ratings:
    +28
    Oh, and the Minor ER, or Urgent Care Facility, is an excellent choice for appropriate simple things like fractures, cuts, fevers, coughs, and the like. In and out time is usually 1.5 to 2 hours, and often much shorter.
     

Share This Page