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Another Emergency Room horror story
Old 07-09-2009, 03:27 PM   #1
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Another Emergency Room horror story

A good friend cut his finger by accident yesterday, enough that the bone was showing and blood was spurting out. He went to his local ER where he had to wait four hours to be seen and stitched up with 8 stitches.

After two hours they even tried to get him to move his car, which they said was illegally parked, but he couldn't get his bleeding hand into his pocket to retrieve his keys, so they let him leave the car where it was.

The nurse told him they knew the ER situation was bad and would get worse, because it's always filled by patients without insurance, and with the swine flu scare there are many people there with just sniffles. I can understand that, but I can't believe there were four hours' worth of patients with more urgent injuries ahead of him. Don't they triage any more?
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Old 07-09-2009, 03:45 PM   #2
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The nurse told him they knew the ER situation was bad and would get worse, because it's always filled by patients without insurance, and with the swine flu scare there are many people there with just sniffles. I can understand that, but I can't believe there were four hours' worth of patients with more urgent injuries ahead of him. Don't they triage any more?
Our local hospitals are have triage nurses. It helps traffic flow a LOT......
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Old 07-09-2009, 03:51 PM   #3
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A good friend cut his finger by accident yesterday, enough that the bone was showing and blood was spurting out. He went to his local ER where he had to wait four hours to be seen and stitched up with 8 stitches.

After two hours they even tried to get him to move his car, which they said was illegally parked, but he couldn't get his bleeding hand into his pocket to retrieve his keys, so they let him leave the car where it was.

The nurse told him they knew the ER situation was bad and would get worse, because it's always filled by patients without insurance, and with the swine flu scare there are many people there with just sniffles. I can understand that, but I can't believe there were four hours' worth of patients with more urgent injuries ahead of him. Don't they triage any more?
Sounds like a Nurse Jackie episode.
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Old 07-09-2009, 04:00 PM   #4
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Urgent care centers are opening up here in western PA big time. The one that comes to mind is MedExpress but some physician practices are also designating one of their office locations for urgent care(which is defined as one step below the ER). They all seem to operate seven days a week, 9 to 9 and take most insurances. I have never been to one as my PCP group will see me the same day if I call in the morning, but I would consider going if I got sick in the evening or on the week-end and wanted to be seen by someone. Everyone I know that has used them has been happy. And a couple of them are very picky nurses. I think they also have a dispensary for medication to save a trip to the pharmacy. These centers are not meant to take the place of a PCP by the way. A couple of friends told me that their regular doc even told them to go there for treatment as they could not accomodate them.
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Old 07-09-2009, 05:22 PM   #5
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A good friend cut his finger by accident yesterday, enough that the bone was showing and blood was spurting out. He went to his local ER where he had to wait four hours to be seen and stitched up with 8 stitches.

After two hours they even tried to get him to move his car, which they said was illegally parked, but he couldn't get his bleeding hand into his pocket to retrieve his keys, so they let him leave the car where it was.

The nurse told him they knew the ER situation was bad and would get worse, because it's always filled by patients without insurance, and with the swine flu scare there are many people there with just sniffles. I can understand that, but I can't believe there were four hours' worth of patients with more urgent injuries ahead of him. Don't they triage any more?
Wish he had come to my ER last night. It would have been the only interesting case and true "emergency" I would have seen all night. All we got was uninsured, abusive, drug seeking narcotic addicts and drunks too intoxicated to walk...

DD
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Old 07-09-2009, 05:29 PM   #6
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At both institutions where I work your friend would have been categorized as a Level 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the most serious and requiring drop everything, immediate attention and a 5 being "will suffer no harm if nothing is done". All the 1,2's and 3's would have had priority. A 4 hour wait is not at all out of the ordinary for something like this in most busy ED's.

Moving his car should have been done by security.

DD
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Old 07-09-2009, 05:36 PM   #7
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I thought this was going to be about someone who retired pre-maturely and had to go back to W*RK! Maybe it reflects my fear that it will happen to me someday.

The situation sounded pretty bad, especially the part about moving the car.
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:29 AM   #8
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A 4 hour wait is not at all out of the ordinary for something like this in most busy ED's.

Moving his car should have been done by security.

DD
So maybe "horror story" was too strong of a description, since my friend wasn't dying. From what you state, though, I suppose a four hour wait to fix a bloody finger with bone showing is not an unusual situation in today's ER environment. I'm not being sarcastic, just trying to calibrate my expectations to today's medical reality. I don't recall waiting more than an hour or two for less urgent situations, but I haven't been to the ER in many years, thankfully.
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:18 AM   #9
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So maybe "horror story" was too strong of a description, since my friend wasn't dying. From what you state, though, I suppose a four hour wait to fix a bloody finger with bone showing is not an unusual situation in today's ER environment. I'm not being sarcastic, just trying to calibrate my expectations to today's medical reality. I don't recall waiting more than an hour or two for less urgent situations, but I haven't been to the ER in many years, thankfully.
ER's nationwide have been closing while ER visits have increased. Decreasing reimbursements drives those remaining ER's to try and cut costs - usually by reducing staff. The end result is increasing wait times to be seen. Nothing on the table for "fixing" health care will have an immediate effect on that. Obama could wave a magic wand granting all insurance but without a primary care system in place to handle them they will still access health care via the ER.

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Old 07-11-2009, 12:31 PM   #10
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Another ER horror story
Every time that thread title pops up under the "New Posts" link I mistake it for a horrible story about early retirees, not emergency rooms...
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Old 07-11-2009, 12:40 PM   #11
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Every time that thread title pops up under the "New Posts" link I mistake it for a horrible story about early retirees, not emergency rooms...
To visit the ER is human, to achieve ER is divine...
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Old 07-11-2009, 02:01 PM   #12
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To visit the ER is human, to achieve ER is divine...
Very well said!
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Old 07-11-2009, 06:11 PM   #13
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One should become familiar with the Doc-in-a-Boxes in your area, so that you can drive to the nearest one if needed. You might even ask your physician when you see them next which of the DiaB's they would recommend.
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:03 PM   #14
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One should become familiar with the Doc-in-a-Boxes in your area, so that you can drive to the nearest one if needed. You might even ask your physician when you see them next which of the DiaB's they would recommend.
The underlined portion is key. There is a huge variability in the quality of care provided at these types of facilities.

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Old 07-18-2009, 07:46 AM   #15
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Trouble is my company health insurance will NOT pay for Dr in a Box visits and will only pay for ER visits if 1) a hospital admission follows or 2) the emergency is life threatening (heart attack, stroke...... severe abdominal pain does NOT count).

ANYTHING else MUST be preauthorized by the insurance company's nurse practioner over the phone-guess they expect us all to have vid phones s& x-ray machines o she can see blood gushing or an unconcious person or a broken bone.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:56 AM   #16
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I'm sure your friend bandaged or wrapped it up so blood wasn't spurting and bone wasn't showing anymore. Maybe that's why it wasn't considered all that serious?
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:24 AM   #17
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Trouble is my company health insurance will NOT pay for Dr in a Box visits and will only pay for ER visits if 1) a hospital admission follows or 2) the emergency is life threatening (heart attack, stroke...... severe abdominal pain does NOT count).

ANYTHING else MUST be preauthorized by the insurance company's nurse practioner over the phone-guess they expect us all to have vid phones s& x-ray machines o she can see blood gushing or an unconcious person or a broken bone.
That sucks, and I would have thought would cost the insurance company more. A few years ago DW got sick on a Friday evening and she recognized the symptoms as being a urine infection, and from experience knew that if she could get it treated asap it would be much better.

On Saturday morning we went to the nearest Dr in a box who did the test, and prescribed antibiotics which cleared it up quickly. We paid in full by CC and submitted a claim which our insurance paid even though the Doc was "out of plan" - reasonable and customary cost was applied, and the Doc was pretty close so we had a lot less out of pocket than if we had gone to an ER (our plan discourages ER visits unless they are truly serious). First time we had done this but we would do it again.
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:36 AM   #18
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That sucks, and I would have thought would cost the insurance company more. A few years ago DW got sick on a Friday evening and she recognized the symptoms as being a urine infection, and from experience knew that if she could get it treated asap it would be much better.

On Saturday morning we went to the nearest Dr in a box who did the test, and prescribed antibiotics which cleared it up quickly. We paid in full by CC and submitted a claim which our insurance paid even though the Doc was "out of plan" - reasonable and customary cost was applied, and the Doc was pretty close so we had a lot less out of pocket than if we had gone to an ER (our plan discourages ER visits unless they are truly serious). First time we had done this but we would do it again.
You did the right thing! IMO a bladder infection usually is so excruciatingly painful (at least for a woman and in particular for me) that it just has to be treated asap. If the insurance company won't pay then so be it. That's what emergency funds are for, and one can battle with the insurance company later on. Glad yours paid even though the doctor was "out of plan"!
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Old 07-18-2009, 06:21 PM   #19
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Always appeal denials.

Years ago, a moron in a laundromat thought he should shake his bleach before adding it to the machine.

The top flew off, and I got half a bottle of bleach in my eye.

I did not stop to say bad words to the moron, just ran some water in my eye and got in a cab and went to St Vincent's here in NYC.

The ER people took me in fast, and ran another quart or two of sterile solution over my eye.

The insurance company said "Not an emergency." I said, "Oh yeah? I'm under observation for glaucoma, and anything to do with my eyes is an emergency!"

They paid.

I think a lot of the 'first-round denials' are to see if they can get away with not paying.

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Old 07-19-2009, 10:58 AM   #20
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I went to the ER for a urinary tract infection on a Thursday night that started a long holiday weekend. It was Dec. 30, 1999, remember the Y2K scare? The next day was New Year's Eve.

I had been ill for almost a week with upper respiratory stuff and had been taking a Tylenol/Sudafed combination and I think I got dehydrated enough to get the UTI. I hadn't had a UTI in years and this one came on fast. At the first symptoms I sent DH out for cranberry juice and by the time he got back I was peeing blood and felt like I had to go every 5 minutes. Extremely painful. Within an hour I was feeling achy and feverish. I worried that I would get much worse very quickly.

The ER visit was short and they gave me a prescription for an antibiotic and also an OTC drug that completely took away the pain. What a relief!

I was surprised that my insurance denied this. I don't remember how much the bill was, but I wrote a letter explaining that I had been ill, had syptoms of a UTI and that it was a long holiday weekend. I also added that if you've ever had a UTI, you know how painful it is! They paid the bill.
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