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Emergency Room Waiting Times...ridiculous!

Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:25 am

So the other night me and my mom were involved in a minor car accident and my mom was having some neck and head pain as a result, so she decided to go to the emergency dad and I went along...we arrived there at 7:45 PM, it was about 11:30 before she saw a doctor, who wanted her to get a CAT scan, and by 2 AM there was no sign of anyone coming to take her to the radiology department, and she didnt want to wait any longer, so we terms of time spent in the ER waiting for treatment, this was at least double what we have ever spent waiting in ER's before...anyone else have any long wait times in ER's?

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RE: Emergency Room Waiting Times...ridiculous!

Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:31 am

Quoting USAFHummer (Thread starter):
anyone else have any long wait times in ER's?

Unless its a real emergency, you'll be there for a while.
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RE: Emergency Room Waiting Times...ridiculous!

Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:34 am

Long ER wait times seem to be more the rule than the exception. Did the ER appear busy the night you went? What normally happens is people are treated in order of severity with the most urgent getting treated first, so those deemed less serious can be in for quite a long wait, especially if it's busy.

Another alternative is an urgent care clinic, which is a stand-alone center or is attached to a hospital for things that may not be so serious.

Generally, I tend not to go to the ER unless I'm literally on my deathbed; I work as a chaplain in our regional trauma center up here in Seattle from time to time, and what I see makes me so not want to be a patient unless it's really serious. If it appears something that can wait, I'll phone my doctor own doctor and get an appointment. It's usually faster, even though I may have to wait until morning.

Hope your Mom feels better.

Charles, SJ
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RE: Emergency Room Waiting Times...ridiculous!

Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:40 am

First off sorry to hear about this mishap. Before my grandmother died, she and my mom were in an ER for a good four hours before even being attended to. My grandmother was suffering from a sever nose bleed and she was on some drug that made her blood thinner, sorry forgot the name. She needed immediate attention and luckily there was a doctor not on duty who he himself was waiting for medical attention that helped my grandmother.
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RE: Emergency Room Waiting Times...ridiculous!

Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:40 am

Same here,

some years ago I applied for university (architecture) and was shutteling my bike between the faculty buildings on the campus in the green fields outside the city and the universities main office downtown.
I wanted to catch a green traffic light, speeded up, but oversaw some roots from a nearby tree that had crawled underneath the street and lifted the concrete ... I was way too fast and braced myself for things to come ... and with a *bang, scratch* ... my bike hit the bumps. It did turns and stalls and whatever and I found myself on the ground with minor scratches on arm and leg, I didn't wore a helmet and 'touched' the ground rather hard. First task was to realize my phone numbers, name, address ... yes, my brain was allright ... touch ... no, no blood in the hairs .. wow!
Second thought was: Damn, I ruined my Bally shoes and Ralph Lauren Polo!!
I blooded though the "visual" injuries were minor, but nevertheless I went for the hospital as it kinda hurted/pained and I wanted to make sure there were no bone splits in the flesh or even slight cracks.

I waited 3 hours in the ER!!!!! No more words on that.

My sister at home was very fit in first aid, so she gave me treatment. The next day I left my MD with X-ray scans of a perfect vital leg, head and arm ... no later injuries  Smile

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RE: Emergency Room Waiting Times...ridiculous!

Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:51 am

Greg, it sounds like you are in a Canadian hospital there. Welcome to our world.
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RE: Emergency Room Waiting Times...ridiculous!

Tue Mar 22, 2005 9:13 am

Usually the squeaky wheel gets the oil. While I hate the fact that some people with minor problems go to ERs and scream and holler until they get seen just to "get them the hell out of here," you can and should do the same thing if you are in serious pain or otherwise have a potentially serious injury.

I feel for you -- literally. One time I was having a gallbladder attack -- if you've never had one, there's not much more painful than a gallbladder attack except perhaps a neurological/brain problem -- and I waited six hours before I was given pain medication. I should have screamed and hollered but I was trying to be a good patient. Not any more.

When I cut my thumb badly, even though the cut wasn't bleeding much anymore (thanks to about 2 inches of wrapping) I told the intake nurse how deep the cut was (1/4 inch.) I was fast-tracked because I could have cut a tendon at that depth. Luckily, I hadn't. It also helped that there were only two other people in the ER at the time. I see two benefits in this -- 1. for me, I was in and out in less than an hour; 2. for the hospital, I wasn't taking up a bed or sitting there frustrated in the waiting room.

So what I would have done is gone to the attendant/nurse and reminded him/her that you have a right to be seen promptly and that neurological injuries can be quite serious without causing immediate symptoms. If they said they were waiting on radiology, then I'd ask them to page the on-call radiologist and inform that person of the situation. I'd rather piss off a few people and be treated than die waiting.
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RE: Emergency Room Waiting Times...ridiculous!

Tue Mar 22, 2005 9:31 am

Um..3 hours in an ER. Seems short compared to what I've experienced here!

The other day, one of my classmates had severe breathing difficulties (he has asthma), and we took him to the emergency at around 10 in the night. Initially, he was seen by a nurse, then we were told to wait for a doctor. Finally a doctor (he was still an intern!) saw him at 5 in the morning! That's a wait of 7 hours!
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RE: Emergency Room Waiting Times...ridiculous!

Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:06 am

OK, after working for 13+ years in the #2 ER in the Buffalo area (40,000+ visits/year) I might be able to comment on this. (this is why I moved to the Labor and Delivery dept)

First everyone that comes in to an ER is triaged (an exam that categorizes the priority of illness/injury of all patients waiting to be seen), in our cases we use a 5 tier system where the most severely ill are scene first and then the next and so on. Sometimes it may appear that while waiting in the waiting room that not much is happening but remember patients are coming in via ambulance and depending on their condition they are triaged and attended to as needed.

However once you are scene by a MD, PA etc you will be waiting for an additional time for a variety of reasons some of which are.

Blood/Lab work... It will take a bit of time to have the order written and entered into the system, your sample will have to be collected and sent to the lab. Once in the lab they have to be prepared, some blood work needs to be "spun" in order to separate the blood product this can take 10-20 minutes. The same then has to be run through the proper machines to be resulted and that also can take 10-20+ minutes. Next the lab work is printed out back in the ER, the MD etc has to then read it, this may take some time is he/she is with another patient (if the results are "critical we do alert the MD stat).

X-Rays, sonogram, Cat- scans, MRIs etc. again after the order is put through it is given a priority by the Xray dept (remember they also have to do "in-House emergency's as well) and depending upon the number o films that have to be taken it may take a good 20-30 minutes to shoot all the required images (along with positioning the patient for each). The films have to then be processed and given to the Radiologist to read. This again may take some time depending upon what is going on in Radiology. After reading the results are sent to the ER for the MD etc to review.

Note: my hospital has just gone filmless so the Xray bit has been speeded up a bit"

Now once we have all of the above back and have a better idea as to what is going on we need to get in touch with your own personal MD to see what he/she feel should be done (admission etc) this again may take some time.

If you can get in and out of an ER in under 4 hours you are doing quite well, also in regards to the nosebleed in the waiting room I'll say this if we knew that a patient in the waiting room who was on anticoagulation therapy and was having "a nosebleed" they would not be relying on the care of non-staff MD in the waiting room"

Sorry if I babbled or missed anything, but I have been out of the ER for about 10 months now and being the old man I am I tend forget...


[Edited 2005-03-22 03:11:05]
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RE: Emergency Room Waiting Times...ridiculous!

Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:29 am

I had to sit in the ER for 1.5 hours with a broken arm in a lot of pain.
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RE: Emergency Room Waiting Times...ridiculous!

Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:49 pm

In 1985 while still living in NYC, I was sicker than a junkyard dog and I dragged my carcass down to the Bellvue Hospital ER where I waited about 14 hours. Last thing I remembered before waking up on a gurney with an IV in my hand was getting up to go to the desk to ask how much longer the wait would be. After I woke up the nurse told me that I passed out while I was talking to the triage nurse. Lesson learned here: never go to a public hospital ER in New York City!
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RE: Emergency Room Waiting Times...ridiculous!

Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:52 pm

I never knew that there were private hospitals though KL642
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RE: Emergency Room Waiting Times...ridiculous!

Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:27 pm

I've only had to go to the ER twice, neither of which required a long wait.

First time was during a layover/RON in Albuquerque. Got some nasty food poisoning from a crew meal! I stayed in the hotel room for 3 days begging for a merciful God to take me away!

Second time was after a long day of short flights, I was driving home from the airport, and had a kidney stone attack. For those of you who have never had a kidney stone, let's just say it is slightly worse than shoving a piano up your nose. I stopped at a packed ER, and told the receptionist to either give me some morphine NOW, or I would re-arrange the furniture. That got me in rather quickly, and after the morphine kicked in, I was happy and content, and I think I even broke out into a few choruses of "Let It Be"
If not now, then when?

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