Sitting in Emerg on a Fine Sunday Afternoon
Here I am in a crowded emergency department giving thanks yet again to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. It is just past noon and I have brought my sister in. We have this excellent system- in theory – where someone comes in the door, prints off a computerized form which has a number on it and then is seen by a triage nurse for assessment. Smooth huh?
So we get here at noon. On entry sisthepatient gets the form, fills it out and sits. She has number thirty-one. There is no triage nurse present. Perhaps they are on lunch. Looking around I see two other patients also clutching the registration form. Seems the system has a glitch..already. We also notice that one gent says this is a follow up visit to yesterday. So this is looking more like a regular doctor’s office..certainly not an emergency. Kay that explains the slow pace of everything. No emergency in site. Anywhere. I wonder where real emergencies go? Actually sisthepatient has the potential for a real emergency.
About two and half hours ago we sat down at our fav Williams with a latte. I was looking at a head line about Charlie Sheen and was relating info to sisthepatient when she said, “Now that’s not right.”
I thought she meant with Charlie. But she meant with herself. Seems she was experiencing sudden vision problems. Now being a nurse I told her I had to take her immediately to emerge. Now being my sister she insisted on going home and calling her doctor. He told her to go emergency immediately as it could indicate detached retina with possible profound sight loss. Profound equals blind in this case.
So here we are at the non emergency emergency department. It took thirty-five minutes to be seen by the triage nurse. Then registration. Ah at last recognition! We were escorted immediately to a smaller waiting area close to the eye examination room and told it would just be a few minutes as there was a patient in there. That was almost ninety minutes ago and while typing these words sisthepatient has been called in. Is it too early to cheer?
I can’t remember the last time I saw a nurse in any ER break a sweat or even appear to have that air of efficiency. Everything and everybody is just way too relaxed. The concerning part is that had this been a true emergency there would have been no one to do anything about it.
While we sat attentionless I did suggest that my sis should teach them a lesson and go blind in that eye while she sat here. She was less than enthusiastic about that. But I am pretty sure it might have gotten us prompt attention.
Actually in all fairness today is galloping along quickly. A few weeks ago one chap I know who had a broken foot was here for twelve hours before a doctor saw him. My friend is ninety-two and in that twelve hours he received no nutrition or fluids. And he actually came in by ambulance which should have gotten him preferential treatment.
Customer Service…my eye…