Waiting in the emergency room

United States
March 10, 2007 12:40am CST
This week, I had to go to the dentist and before I left his office, I was missing a tooth that had decided to push it's way up into my sinus cavity. It was quite painful and the pain medicine he gave me made me sick. I tried to go without, thinking that the pain would subside in a couple of days, but it didn't. So, last night I decided to go to the emergency room when the pain go unbearable and see if I could get some meds that were better suited to my stomach's sensitivity. I arrived at the ER around 7:15 PM and waited,and waited and waited. When I got there, only 5 people were waiting, though I do not know how many patients were in the back being seen. As time went by and more people came in, the place got a bit crowded. But, I figured that I would soon be seen. Next thing I know, people who came in 2 hours after me were being called back before me and others who were already there when I arrived. I understand that the serious cases must go first, but, in this waiting room, you can hear what people mare telling the staff, so I knew that these people who were moved ahead were bot in serious condition. One had stubbed her toe, painful?, yes, more emergent than the baby next to me with the 102 temperature, NO WAY! One woman was brought in a wheelchair because she was so weak she could not stand and also has to have an oxygen tank 24 hours a day. She was very sick and i felt she should have been taken back immediately...her husband finally threw a fit when so many were being taken back and she was being ignored. He left and took her to another hospital, but promised to return to discuss the problem after his wife had been taken care of. I finally got home around midnight. I was not so bad off that it hurt me to sit and wait, but I did feel for the many children who were obviously miserable with high fevers. The saving grace for me personally was when I was finally called, I was seen by a very caring doctor who took great care of me and was very sympathetic. How long are you willing to wait in an emergency room when you know there are no ambulances bringing in severe cases and the other patients are not much worse off than you? Would you ask that someone who is sicker than you, but who came in after you be seen first? Let me add, this was a military hospital that is known for it's long wait times, but I feel they could and should do something to improve this. I also think there should be a pediatric emergency room specifically geared for children.
4 people like this
7 responses
• United States
10 Mar 07
i think the longest ive waited in the ER waiting room was 5 hours. cant remember what it was for though. but i will say that if im able to go to another hospital i will, rather than wait 5 hours again. your idea of a pediatric emergency room is a great idea!
2 people like this
• United States
10 Mar 07
Thank you, I'd say a five hour limit is fair, I mean if you give them that much time before getting upset, they should be happy. I am glad you like the idea, if I had the capital to open one and could hire people to help run it, I'd open one myself. Children have special needs and to see sick children have to wait for so long is hard to watch. I just think an emergency room geared just for them would be a big help to them and their parents, plus, it would be staffed with pediatricians, so the special knowledge would be in place to help them.
1 person likes this
@kathy77 (7488)
• Australia
11 Mar 07
Oh dear this sounds like a dreadful emergency centre we always take it in turns and people do not go ahead of us only if an emergency where someone life is at risk which I understand that. We do have a pediatric emergency centre within the hospital emergency centre this is dreadful what kind of hospital this is and you say it is a military hospital oh my goodness. No I would of walked out and gone somewhere else and reported this.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Mar 07
Believe me, many have compalined and filed reports, but they seem to fall on deaf ears at times. I think it is mostly because of the constant turnover of personnel since much of the military does not stay in one ploace for long, especially with the deployments. I worked there as a surgical technologist. I am a civilian and was under contract. I have almost 14 years experience not including the time I was in school studying for this career. I was able to teach many of the military techs alot, but then the budget was cut and the civilian contracts went first. I will not say they were not competent, just did not have enough time to train properly before being expected to perform their duties.
• United States
11 Mar 07
I think that the staff who work in ER are desensitized to the patients pain. Some of them are overworked but mostly don't care because they see many people who are no emergencies who just come because the Dr's office is closed and they don't want to wait until the next day. My experience with military hospitals is not good they have medics who are not properly trained and most of the doctors are young and not long out of medical school and join the military to get experience and enjoy the life of a young officer.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Mar 07
You really zoned in correctly on the military situation in my mind. I worked for this same hospital for 2 years under contract. I had to teach the young military surgical techs so much about their jobs because they only get a 10 week course. I was very concerned about a 10 week class ans then turning them loose as surgical assistants, so I tried to take them under my wing and teach them properly.
@nmd8403 (41)
• United States
10 Mar 07
Tommy had an allergic reaction to 'something' back in September. We waited at that ER for hours and hours... The first time wasn't too bad- actually it was memorial day weekend so alot of people were out of town, there was only 1 or 2 other people in the waiting room and it still took hours! There were doctors just standing around talking! So, they gave him a shot, prednisone, and sent us on our way. He said it might be our new couch causing it. A couple hours later it got reallllly bad. So, bad we were with 2 of his soldiers and they were begging him to go back. They were scared- but he just didn't want to wait again. So, we go back, and wait AGAIN! This time was much longer. Finally, we saw a different doctor and he hadn't been back on the couch, and this doctor said it's something he ate. But he hadn't eaten anything we hadn't made before (we cooked at home). So, more meds, benadryl, claratin, something for his stomach because of the prednisone, and sent him off again. Then, sunday comes.... they had told him 'minimal clothing' but he had to do a guard shift in his uniform. He called me about 12 hours into it saying he was at the ER again and he'd call me in a couple hours because he'd be waiting a while and there was no point in me coming in until he needed picked up (he wasn't allowed to drive on all the meds). It was a MESS!!!! So, this time, they said they can't figure whats causing it, another shot, and an appt with an allergy specialist (for 2 months later!!). He came home, went to work that week, and ended up going to sick call. They put him on quarters for 10 days!!! It would get bad, then better, then bad again, and we couldn't figure out what was causing it! Then, it just stopped coming... And, he never did get into the allergist... we still don't know what ever caused it all because it's never happened before and he has no known allergies!!!! I guess we all have our ER horror stories from there.... I;m glad you finally got what you need at the ER even though you did have to wait a while!
• United States
10 Mar 07
I do not understand why some things are taken so lightly by those docs. An allergic reaction can become very serious in no time at all!!
@fatragu (349)
• United States
11 Mar 07
I live in Douglas, WY and have been in the ER 2 times. Once was in February with my 10 month old because she was having really bad breathing problems and had been exposed to some type of fungus and was wheezing and couldn't catch her breath. We were the only ones in the waiting room and waited over an hour. I was in there March 1st because I called the hospital and was told I was having a miscarriage and to get the the hospital asap. Got there and was the ONLY patient in that part of the hospital. Still waited over an hour. I told my hubby that if anything happens then we are going to drive to Casper's ER and get seen there unless it is with this pregnancy because my Dr. is at this hospital and I will raise holy hell until I get seen with the problem I am having right now, especially since it can kill me.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Mar 07
That is terrible to wait that long. I know 5 or so years ago i went in with a terrible pain my stomach. Took them forever to get me in. I could hardly stand it. Come to find out my appendix had burst and was lucky to be alive. I do think they need to work on waiting room emergencies. I don't think you should have to wait so long to be seen. It should be first come first serve in my mind unless someone comes in that is way worse than you.
1 person likes this
@patootie (3593)
10 Mar 07
Ow !! Ow !! Ow !! and flippin' OUCH!! That must have been soooo painful .. made my feet fel funny just reading about it and my eyes water hehe !! I think I'd have howled the place down if they hadn't at least given me some decent pain relief straight away .. well done to you for stoically waiting .. I couldn't have done that !!
1 person likes this