Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A new day...

It's been a few days since I blogged my feelings about my experience at one particular emergency room. I know it's not a popular opinion. It was borderline controversial. I rarely get involved with controversial subjects. I don't even like to talk politics with friends, family or anybody! But sometimes you just have to stand up for what's right. I know this post has ticked off a couple of people, but that's not going to deter me from speaking up about it. And I hope that because I did, I made a positive difference.

Let me clear up a few things. I do not have a problem with medical professionals at all. If you know me, then you know that I admire them. I work close with several, and I respect them. My problem is this: I've had TWO bad experiences at ONE particular ER. Front desk only. I had only been there twice and both times the experience was deplorable. What set me off was the two women who worked the front desk when I arrived two weeks ago. I never made it to triage...heck, Ginni didn't even make it to triage, so I have no opinion or experience with any other part of that department. I walked out once the two tried to push me off on each other. This happened right in front of me! Like I wasn't even there! I knew I was in trouble, especially when neither would make eye contact with me. I walked out the best I could. I probably looked drunk, and they probably assumed that I was. And they both let me go, just like that. I didn't see whether either one of them even looked up. But my guess is, probably not. If my husband would have known which hospital I was going to after our experience with Ginni, he would have never let me go there. I had assumed that this was something that rarely happened, so the previous experience didn't even cross my mind. Besides, I was in so much pain, I had to get to the closest one. Maybe this was God's way of saying that something is still not right with that place and it was time to speak out. This went beyond disturbing when one of our posters here had a problem at the same hospital. I know, because she emailed her experience to me with the name of the hospital. She too was told to go there by her doctor. She never made it to triage either. She went to another hospital and was hospitalized for three days.

I am very grateful to the woman who took over the front desk there by the time my husband arrived to ask for the names of the women. She knew what happened and was genuinely concerned. She offered to help, but my husband had already taken me elsewhere. She gave my husband the names and the hotline number. I am grateful to the woman from the hotline who called my husband back. I just found out that I met her at the Relay for Life last year. Great lady.

The lady at the front desk at the ER that eventually took care of me was nothing but respectful and helpful. Not just to me, but to everyone. Matter of fact, I took my daughter to that same ER a couple of months ago. She had broken her leg in two places. We had to wait a little bit, but the lady working the front desk was even-tempered, helpful and got the job done. There was only one of her and nearly a full house. She was there when I arrived two weeks ago. When she saw the woman with messy hair, no make-up, sweats and a long ratty coat come in complaining of chest pains, she didn't see somebody coming in for a "free ride", she immediately went and got a nurse to put me on an EKG. It was done, over. She was already on to the next patient. She did not judge me when I walked in the door and for that, I'm grateful.

Therefore, I cannot agree with this statement from the first anonymous poster,

The unfortunate part is that the ER has grown a tolerance to suffering since nearly EVERY PERSON who presents reports symptoms as if they were on death's door, as if to drum up sympaty or a sense of urgency from the hospital staff.

Those first words, "grown a tolerance to suffering" floored me. This kind of thinking can completely wipe away the hope of anyone who enters ER requiring care. But I feel safe to say that this is NOT the attitude of everybody who works in ER, so the person who wrote this CANNOT speak for ALL.

My husband did NOT detect that attitude at all with the woman who took over the front desk at the hospital in question. And I surely didn't see that with the woman who worked at the second hospital. She treated everyone with respect.

In conclusion, my advice to the first two posters and the two women at the front desk of Hospital A is this: Do NOT have a preconceived notion of what the next patient is like, otherwise, that patient's family may have grounds for a lawsuit.


Anonymous said...

Wow I just went back and read over all the comments and your updates! I am shocked as to what happened and the anon comments. Geez. Makes me a little nervous about the ER visits here in the area.

JerryB said...


I know you are not going to name Hospital A but, please tell me Hospital B is (I'm sure they won't mind the publicity and won't care that a few more patients come through their doors) because they care.

Having volunteered in an ER, I understand the need to separate oneself from the suffering (desensitizing if you will) because so much pain is seen. It is necessary with our first responders too, but not to the point that unprofessional conduct "presents".

Karen West said...

Hey Jerry! Thanks for commenting. I can understand separating yourself because of seeing so much pain. That makes total sense. The way Anonymous 1 explained it, they desensitize themselves because so many come in using them as a doctor's office and they're tired of it, not because of the way you explained it. Therefore, I can't imagine that you would let a bad day jade your opinion of someone coming in with chest pains, as the women at the front desk did.

As far as ER, Sentara Port Warwick was outstanding. The young lady who works the front desk looks to be in her late 20's maybe 30. Both times I was in there, she did not miss a beat, even with a line of people in front of her waiting to be checked in. She did it quickly, and moved the line along. When my husband got me up there, I was on EKG before I knew it. Very professional.