Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Earth to ERs--tighten up
I know how much you people enjoy my stories of going to the Emergency Room—the 13-hour waits, an old lady begging for pain meds, the snippiness, the asking questions for the electronic chart while the doctor is explaining your disease (after that 13 hours), and specialists who won’t come over.
Laura Landro (WSJ, May 10, 2011), relates a few more horror stories and says hospitals are trying to create more teamwork, see riskier patients faster (not just ones who come in an ambulance), and try to be sure a patient is really ready to go.
The ER accounts for most malpractice claims and diagnostic errors may account for as many 55% of those.
I had one—blocked intestine, sent home, came back, it hurts, it hurts, another x-ray, nope, go home—SOMETHING IS WRONG!—oh, you think something is wrong?…Comes back: We looked at the old x-ray, something IS wrong. Five days in the hospital!
ERs are not in my experience like on TV—they seem to be languid, people in scrubs wandering like fish in a fishbowl, around, back and forth. Wait, wait, wait. My mother could not get pain meds for a dislocated shoulder until a doctor saw it—hours and hours. Surely they know dislocated shoulders HURT.
Often records are missing—or wrong. They have pulldown boxes—they just check stuff. They had Mom as diabetic—she is not.
Some ERs are being divided into pediatric, obstetrics, psychiatric and general.
Others are urging the TEAM to huddle about a patient—give it a minute.
Some urge timeouts before letting a patient leave—it does take an hour to get out. Was that what that was?
Yes, by all means, look at all this. And treat old ladies better. They have feelings, too, and are more likely to be scared and confused.