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A visit to the emergency room
Old 05-22-2009, 06:16 PM   #1
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A visit to the emergency room

I spent 7 hours in the ER the other day and never did see a doctor. I was so disgusted I left.

I would never have gone to the ER in the first place, but I was in an accident and got hurt bad enough to require surgery next week to bolt one of my bones back together. My doctor's office was not open and they suggested going to the ER. I basically had to stabilize myself and wait. They would not give pain medication nor a sling nor nothing. I did get an X-ray in the ER which showed me the severity of the damage although having a large bulge of a bone almost poking through the skin is also a pretty good hint.

I guess I'm lucky that the jagged edges of the bones did not slice through any major arteries or nerves. I went to an orthopedic surgeon the next morning and got scheduled for surgery and some pain medication (I had to make the appointment myself while I was waiting for the X-ray in the ER). In the meantime I am bedridden and uncomfortable.

I would've thought that I would've seen a doctor at least in the first 6 hours, but it didn't happen.

Anyways, have you ever left the ER without seeing a doctor? How long did you wait before you gave up? Did you die because you chose to leave? Thanks for comments, but I guess I am mostly looking for some sympathy.
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Old 05-22-2009, 06:22 PM   #2
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Wherever you live, LOL!, I'm not moving there. Oh, you poor baby.
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Old 05-22-2009, 06:45 PM   #3
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The first time I broke my collar bone I just went home, slept and went to my Dr. the next day. He took one look at it and sent me to another Dr. in the same building. (It took 7 or 8 screws and a plate to repair. Come to think about it I did the second time I broke it but I skipped the first Dr.)
I didn't bother with the ER because I knew they would just take an xray and tell me to see my Dr.

You have to get to the ER room very early in the morning to get fast attention - plan your accident better in the future.
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Old 05-22-2009, 06:54 PM   #4
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This is terrible. You have all my sympathy. Based on the information you provided I would say you were either Triage level 3 (should see a physician within 30 minutes) or 2 (should see a physician within 15 minutes).

http://www.caep.ca/CMS/COT-2008-English-Canada-v01.04.ppt#734,31,Environmental

All emergency rooms have a proportion of patients who Leave Without Being Seen (LWBS) and in my experience it varies from 1-4%. In most cases the patients who leave are Triage Levels 4 and 5 (i.e. not urgent).

I hope your surgery goes well and that your pain is soon under control. When you're all done, we'll come and sign the cast.
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:18 PM   #5
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Anyways, have you ever left the ER without seeing a doctor? How long did you wait before you gave up? Did you die because you chose to leave? Thanks for comments, but I guess I am mostly looking for some sympathy.

That is truly awful . Unless the ER had several major traumas going on that is riduculous . The problem is ER's get many people with no insurance using it as a walk in clinic but you should have been seen before any minor problems . I would write a scathing complaint to the CEO . Hope you are on the mend and have pain meds . Broken bones are very very painful .
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:00 PM   #6
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My friend cut a part of his finger off with a table saw (one joint is gone) and went to the ER (Kaiser) and waited there for 6 hours and all they did was wrap it up in gauze and told him to come back the next week (to see his primary doctor). No stitches, no nothing.

I cut my finger with a food slicer and went to the ER (I have PPO coverage so I went to the closest ER to my house) around 2PM (I wrapped my finger with a USB cable to try to stop the bleeding, but it bled a lot since I had to drive with my right hand up while holding the USB cable and that is not easy to do.) and a nurse came and cleaned out the wounds while I was filling out the paperwork (I am right-handed, so the clerk was actually filling out the paper work for me) They took my blood pressure etc and waited there maybe 10 minutes before I was escorted to another room and a physician's assistant came in right away, checked my finger out and came back in about 15 minutes to stitch me up (6 stitches) and left me with some instructions.

I went to the same ER at 1AM with a sudden severe back pain (kidney stone, but I didn't know what it was then) - a nurse escorted me to a room and after agonizing 20 minutes or so, the doctor showed up and they put me on an intervenous pain killer right away and took a CAT scan and they shipped the CAT scan some place for evaluation and the doctor told me the result in about 50 minutes - the whole time, they were giving me some intervenous saline solution to hydrate me. Anyway, I stayed there until I was well hydrated, equipped with a little mesh screen to catch the stone, and some oral pain killers. I was pleasantly surprised I was so well taken care of. When a nurse came in and told me he needed to take me for the CAT scan, I was about to get off the gurney (I had intervenous stuff attached to me, but I've seen on TV how people walk around with the intervenous stand etc) and he was like "Oh, no I will take you there myself. Relax and lie down." and he even put a blanket on top of me (mind you, the blanket was heated!) so I woudn't get cold on the way to the CAT scan room.

Maybe I was lucky, because when I went at night, they didn't have but a couple of people waiting. When I went with a bloody finger however, there were tons of people in the waiting room, but I was the only one who was bleeding, so maybe they let me in quicker, I don't know. (My finger has stopped bleeding at this point and I told them my pain level was only about 3 out of 10, so I am not sure.) If I had a broken bone sticking out through the skin, I would think that would qualify as more of an emergency.

Your experience sounds like my friend's horror story. Are you with Kaiser by any chance?
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:16 PM   #7
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My friend cut a part of his finger off with a table saw (one joint is gone) and went to the ER (Kaiser) and waited there for 6 hours and all they did was wrap it up in gauze and told him to come back the next week (to see his primary doctor). No stitches, no nothing.
I can top that. I was about 17 and got into a small car accident - I wasn't driving. We were stopped at a traffic light in the Bronx when a drunken driver turned into us and hit us head on. I wasn't hurt at all and I don't remember why we went to the emergency room. But I was waiting for my friends and I asked the guy sitting next to me what he was here for - gun shot in the stomach - he was just sitting there holding his stomach. It must have been a small caliber.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:21 PM   #8
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You must live in a big city. I've only been to an ER twice in my adult life. Both were in a city of about 60,000 people. Both were for injuries less serious than yours. I waited about 10 minutes the first time and about 30 the other. I can't imagine waiting 7 hours and still not getting help.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:25 PM   #9
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I am not with Kaiser. I did not have a bone poking out, but almost.

For my 1st kidney stone, I was in a foreign country and went to a hospital where they did not speak a word of English. I was treated rather well for free.

For my 2nd kidney stone, I just called my doctor and got a pain killer prescription called into the local drug store.

For my 3rd kidney stone, I went to a different ER than this week's fracture ER. On a pain scale of 1 to 10, it was about a 12. While the nursing staff took good care of me, I had to provide my own pain meds which kicked in after an hour. Anyways I left the hospital after 3 hours without seeing a doctor who must've been busy. The CAT scan folks were busy and could not get me in. I was not charged any doctors fees by the ER. Stone was confirmed the next day by a CAT scan at my doctor's clinic.

For my 4th kidney stone, I went to my urologist directly and treated forthwith.

This latest fracture episode just irks the hell out of me. With my luck, I will get swine flu from all the toddlers swinging around the waiting room.

I do not live in a big city. I live in a nice suburb of about 100K population with several hospitals that are very good if you are in labor and about to deliver a baby.

I am going to take Dex's advice and plan my accidents better.

Anyways, thanks everyone for all the sympathy. You've made my day.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:30 PM   #10
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Anyways, have you ever left the ER without seeing a doctor? How long did you wait before you gave up? Did you die because you chose to leave? Thanks for comments, but I guess I am mostly looking for some sympathy.
You certainly have my sympathy!! What an awful experience.

I haven't been to the emergency room for myself since I went in with a very bad gall bladder situation in 1993, which was so bad that the triage fellow (nurse? medic?) even ran outside to help me walk in. I saw a doctor almost immediately. They were busy too, and crowded, but they were able to handle it.

Your ER may have been busy but I know I would have been upset, just as you were.
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:05 PM   #11
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OMG... That's awful LOL.

Gosh, W2R...I went to the emergency room with a gall bladder problem in 1993 as well. However my experience wasn't anything like yours.

Early in the week, I started having sharp pains between my shoulder blades. I went to my doc and he gave me some pumped up Tylenol. A few days later, I was in so much pain, I had my DH take me to the emergency room. It was a Sunday and it was pretty crowded. They took my temp and bp....both were a bit elevated. Then, I was told to have a seat.

I kept twisting and turning in my chair as I could not get comfortable. The pain was so intense, I thought I would faint. Three hours later, I was still in the waiting room. I told my DH to take me home. I'd rather die there than in the waiting room of the hospital. When I called my doc the next day, he scheduled an ultra sound for me. They had me in the hospital three days later as my test results showed I needed surgery right away.

I think I need to plan my illness better and not get sick on a Sunday....
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:18 PM   #12
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I spent 7 hours in the ER the other day and never did see a doctor. I was so disgusted I left.

I would never have gone to the ER in the first place, but I was in an accident and got hurt bad enough to require surgery next week to bolt one of my bones back together. My doctor's office was not open and they suggested going to the ER. I basically had to stabilize myself and wait. They would not give pain medication nor a sling nor nothing. I did get an X-ray in the ER which showed me the severity of the damage although having a large bulge of a bone almost poking through the skin is also a pretty good hint.

I guess I'm lucky that the jagged edges of the bones did not slice through any major arteries or nerves. I went to an orthopedic surgeon the next morning and got scheduled for surgery and some pain medication (I had to make the appointment myself while I was waiting for the X-ray in the ER). In the meantime I am bedridden and uncomfortable.

I would've thought that I would've seen a doctor at least in the first 6 hours, but it didn't happen.

Anyways, have you ever left the ER without seeing a doctor? How long did you wait before you gave up? Did you die because you chose to leave? Thanks for comments, but I guess I am mostly looking for some sympathy.
How did you get to the ER?

I know very little about this stuff . . . and my understanding is that if you are transported to the hospital by EMS you are much more likely to be taken seriously and treated quickly than if you walk in.
Does anybody in the field(s) of ER or EMS or related field care to comment?
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:24 PM   #13
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Anyways, have you ever left the ER without seeing a doctor? How long did you wait before you gave up? Did you die because you chose to leave? Thanks for comments, but I guess I am mostly looking for some sympathy.
Forgot to answer: Never left an ER without seeing a doctor within about 45 minutes, as best I can recall, but I have had maybe at most 3 ER experiences in my lifetime.

Sorry you had to endure this. If someone believes they are hurt or very ill they should be attended to by someone very quickly.
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:29 PM   #14
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This is not an ambulance-worthy injury. I am able to walk. I was certainly able to walk out of the ER in disgust.

A basketball teammate drove me. Another teammate who used to be an EMT stabilized the fracture first. I am surrounded by ex-Army, ex-Marine types who work for the volunteer fire departments. So I was in worse hands as soon as I walked into the ER.

Since our suburb is full of physicians I would assume that a hospital would just have more docs get called in when the ER got too full. Maybe they were all out sick. Many of my friends are physicians, so I will have to ask them.
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:48 PM   #15
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OMG... That's awful LOL.

Gosh, W2R...I went to the emergency room with a gall bladder problem in 1993 as well. However my experience wasn't anything like yours.

Early in the week, I started having sharp pains between my shoulder blades. I went to my doc and he gave me some pumped up Tylenol. A few days later, I was in so much pain, I had my DH take me to the emergency room. It was a Sunday and it was pretty crowded. They took my temp and bp....both were a bit elevated. Then, I was told to have a seat.

I kept twisting and turning in my chair as I could not get comfortable. The pain was so intense, I thought I would faint. Three hours later, I was still in the waiting room. I told my DH to take me home. I'd rather die there than in the waiting room of the hospital. When I called my doc the next day, he scheduled an ultra sound for me. They had me in the hospital three days later as my test results showed I needed surgery right away.

I think I need to plan my illness better and not get sick on a Sunday....
Mine was pretty sudden. No symptoms whatsoever until Friday night, and by Sunday morning I gave up and got a ride to the ER. They took me right in straight through the ER door to a gurney in the ER immediately, and I didn't even see the waiting room. I was in bad shape in the ER for a long time (12 hours? 24 hours? I don't know since I was not doing so well and not always conscious) until I was stabilized and then I was taken straight to a hospital room. They did the ultrasound and lots of monitoring and other tests Monday and did the surgery first thing on Tuesday, I think (give or take a day - - they had me on some serious drugs at times). They said I almost died and should have gone in earlier (but it came on so suddenly that I was only trying to tough it out for about 36 hours).

I can't even have my gall bladder removed without it being a drama.
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Old 05-23-2009, 12:04 AM   #16
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LOL, those wait times sound horrible. Get out of Europe or Canada with their bad socialized medicine. Come to USA and you don't have to wait at all!!
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Old 05-23-2009, 03:01 AM   #17
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I was just at the ER a month ago.... my son got bit by a dog...

We waited about 3 to 4 hours... saw a few people who came in with broken bones and were usually taken back in a few minutes, but most were wheeled back into the waiting room or hobbled back... one screaming for pain medicine.. .but was told they could not give it to him until he saw a doctor...

What got me upset was they squirted saline solution in the holes of the bite... and then put a wrap on the leg.... got an X ray to make sure nothing major was broken or bitten into.... the final bill was $1,400... not cheap..
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Old 05-23-2009, 07:47 AM   #18
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LOL, those wait times sound horrible. Get out of Europe or Canada with their bad socialized medicine. Come to USA and you don't have to wait at all!!
If LOL doesn't mind, I would like to know which country (s)he lives in.
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:30 AM   #19
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Texas.

Full disclosure: Many years ago I was employed as a nurse's aide during a summer in college, so I have my share of medical stories. I also help teach a course at the local medical school located in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center. I am not a physician.
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:33 AM   #20
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Texas.

Full disclosure: Many years ago I was employed as a nurse's aide during a summer in college. I also help teach a course at the local medical school located in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center. I am not a physician.
Thanks LOL. I hope you are feeling better.

Glad to know Texas is a country!!!
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