An Ambulatory Emergency

, , , | Healthy | June 12, 2018

(I’m working at the window as a tech in the ER. It’s three am, but pretty busy, and the wait times are very long because we only staff half a dozen nurses and only one doctor at this time. A very impatient woman with a headache comes up to the window several times demanding to know how much longer it will be. Being an ER and not an urgent clinic, we see patients based on how likely they are to die in the waiting room, and we have seen her twice in the last week for her headache, so she has to get in line behind ambulances with broken bones and heart attacks.)

Patient: “How much longer is it going to be?!”

Me: “I’m so sorry, ma’am. Unfortunately, we’ve been getting many ambulances with critical patients in tonight, so it’s going to be a while before you can be seen. We cannot give out exact wait times, as we never know what kind of emergencies we will receive in the interim.”

Patient: “Well, if I go outside and call an ambulance, will it get me seen sooner?”

Me: “Well, no… the charge nurse would have you sent right back here to the triage area. Then we would be calling the police. Calling an ambulance from outside an ER for a medical emergency is against the law and they could arrest you.”

(She walked away from the window in a huff and waited another hour to be seen for the headache she should have seen a primary doctor for after her first visit a week ago. Our doctor gave her no more pain medicine, just a referral identical to two others she had gotten in our ER.)

1 Thumbs
294
VOTES