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Share Your Emergency Room Experience

Yesterday, my daughter and I finally decided it was time to go to the hospital because our conditions weren't getting any better. We ended up in the Emergency Room at Duke Medical Center. I brought excerpts from my upcoming book, my cell phone and some writing materials to keep me occupied for what was sure to be a LONG wait.

I've blogged about going to Duke's ER before. Going there has never been pleasant. I always get the feeling there are never enough people on staff to handle the onslaught of people who need their care. Yesterday, one lady was complaining that she had been waiting for four hours and still hadn't been seen. Another woman claimed she had once come to the ER and waited 14 1/2 hours!

Maybe we looked really sick or the staff recognized me from previous visits because we were in an out of the ER in less than four hours---and on top of that---everyone was exceptionally nice and attentive. I'll be the first to tell you that has never been my experience in the past (11/23/07).

The attending nurse even commented on how some people had to wait up to eight hours just the day before so, in spite of the fact, that the ER was busy on the day we came, we got lucky this particular time.

So what has you ER experience been like? What do you think the overall problems ER staff members are faced with? How can they improve?


Corrie said…
Bev - I would say my last ER visit was not good at all. I went to the ER with severe abdominal pain. 6 hours later they sent me home and told me to go to my gyn dr on Monday. Did that and ended up back at the ER again that day. Then 2 hours after being released, I ended up back at the ER again. Finally they admitted me so they could run more tests to find out what was wrong. Needless to say 3 ER visits later I finally got the surgery I needed to fix the problem. The ER staff was ruid, didn't care about my pain, and thought I was all but faking.

Glad your visit went better than mine did.
Kathryn said…
The only bad experience I had was when my first husband was working on a friend's car and the temperature outside was minus 40 below zero in New Mexico. He told the lady not to turn the car on but she did and his finger traveled up a belt line until it broke. There he was with a disfigured finger, broken and I rushed him to the clinic. We didn't have a hospital close by. The receptionist was on the phone with a doctor and saw us standing there. She kept talking and saying "oh you know doc, they're all the same..think they have an emergency..."

We waited over an hour. Finally, when the doctor saw him he was surprised that we waited so long. Well, we give all the credit to the nurse. He did get some sort of splint cast for his entire hand and of course the doctor had to straighten his finger.
Sharron said…
How to make your ER visits more pleasant.
As a RN I must comment on the above topic. Yes, I must agree that some ER visits are not pleasant and are not meant to be. There is a huge nationwide and I mean Nation wide shortage of nurses. With this shortage, there are going to be less care given to thsoe who can wait! Let's think about it. You have nurses that work 10 hrs., 12 hours, and yes, sometimes 18 hr. shifts with little or no support from administration. The nurses are tried, working more hours with less supplies, and less staff. Say that somebody calls in on the day you go to the ER, who's going to cover for that person? I'll tell you. Some body thay has a heavy workload already and has 10-12 hours to put in. So, what should you do? Know when to go to the ER>
Having a cold, or flu like symptoms is no reason to go to the ER but people will show up there for those reasons.
Having abdominal pain without nauses, diarrhea, or other symptoms is no reason to go to the ER. These symptoms are for you to go to your DOCTOR! or urgent Care clinic not the ER. Never be vague about your symptoms, be percise! Know the time the pain started, where it started, did it radiate, what makes it feel better or what makes it get worse. Don't go to the hospital for cuts and brusies. Yes, parents will bring little Timmy in for a small ugly cut and scrape. My Gosh, we have better things to do than to fix a scrape or a bruise. If your are having chest pain, call 911, never drive yourself to a hospital if your are extremely ill and or have Chest pain.
2 years ago I went to the ER via ambulance for kidney stones. Well, I got seen by the ER staff quicker than a guy who had blood running down his face from a car accident, because his wife drove him to the ER, instead of letting the firemen or Paramedics take him to the hospital.
How about somebody writing a book on the true life expereinces in a hospital from a nurses view and from the patient's view. Now that will be an eye opener. Spend a week with nurses on the floor and in the ER. No comment!
Good luck!
Anonymous said…
My ER experience was Ok. I went with severe abdominal pain. waited for about an hour before I was finally seen. then waited on a gurney for another hour. saw the doc..he said it was my gall bladder, sent me hoime with some pain pills and the number of a specialist to call the next day. I had a horrible night. called the doc the next day and was told he couldn't see me for 2 weeks! went back to the ER because I was in so much pain. was admitted and had gall bladder surgery that same day.
Anonymous said…
I cut my hand between my index finger and my middle finger and my girlfriend rushed me to the ER. Since I had excellent insurance at the time....and was bleeding quite a bit. Just as soon as they ascertained the status of my insurance (maybe 10 minutes or so- it was pretty quick) they had me seen by a doctor who cleaned my wound sent me for x-rays (had cut it on broken glass and there might have been glass in there..) and then shot up my hand with pain killer and gave me 8 stitches and the proper follow up instructions. I cut it pretty good- came close to losing some function- but didn't! Today, I don't have the same insurance coverage and know from a friends recent experience at the same ER that I would NOT be given the same great level of service becasue of that. Yes, nurses are often overworked but the main driving force of today's major hospitals is money and you had darn well better be well insured when you show up.
Anonymous said…
My last two visits to the ER, I have to admit, were taken care of quickly as they were emergencies. My next to the last visit, I had gone to work that morning feeling fine. About 8:30 am I started feeling nauseous. By 9:00 am, I was vomiting every 10 minutes. My office called my husband to come get me about 10:30. Every 10 minutes on the way home he had to pull over. We had just got home when I started vomiting blood, and I don't mean a little blood. We immediately get back in the car and head to the ER. As we were walking into the ER, me holding my bucket, I start vomiting blood again, and I have never seen people move as fast as they moved. A man grabbed me from my husband, another man ran for a wheel chair and a nurse grabbed my husband and rushed us to the back. I'm not sure what drugs they gave me as I don't remember much after that until I woke up two days later laying in a hospital bed, but hubby said they had IVs and doctors and wheeling me off for test within 30 minutes of walking into the ER. As strangely as this came on, it left. All unexplained and they could never find out where that much blood was coming from.

The last time I went to the ER, I actually went to my doctor's office first. When I saw my doctor, he was under the impression that my appendix was about to rupture. He sent me immediately to the ER, called a surgeon and had him to meet me at the ER. The surgeon was standing at the desk when I walked in. The surgeon had ordered more tests and I was immediately prepped, blood work, and off for a sonogram. Come to find out the other tests did not show it was my appendix and I didn't have to have surgery.

My mother goes to the ER for everything. I have spent many hours in the ER with her. They have to quickly evaluate each case and when it is not a true emergency, then you have to wait, sometimes a very long time. In our area, we have what they call "Direct Care" which is mini ERs. If you are sick, they encourage you to go to the Direct Care. This frees up the ER for emergencies. This seems to work well, the times I have taken my mother to Direct Care.
Carole said…
One morning I started getting cold sweats, found it difficult to breath, and had this very sharp pain in my chest, my son who was about 5 at the time, ran next door to the neighbour and told her I was having a heart attack, she called the medic and I was rushed to the ER. Not knowing exactly what was happening on the ride over it seem to intensify and unknown to me I was given a nitro patch on my arm, at the ER after the hook up and 101 questions, the pain did not seem to subside, I was given nitro under the tongue, and hour later, still in pain, I was given another under the tongue, by now my head is about to explode, and they could not understand if the chest pain was going away, why would I have a headache, so they decide to take my pressure on the other arm and found the patch the EMT had put on me, and did not document it, Oh you should have seen the panic on his face....I survived. Turned out to be an anxiety attack, I had a few more after that, but knew to stay calm, reclaim my moment and if there was still pain call the EMT.

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