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Monday, October 01, 2012

ER wait time: you will never be seen

OK, whose scathingly brilliant idea was it to put ER wait times on  hospital web sites?  There are apparently enough morons out there that go there and check them.

MESSAGE TO THE PUBLIC:

If you have time, if you are thinking about this before you even come, YOU ARE NOT HAVING AN EMEGENCY. REPEAT YOU ARE NOT HAVING AN EMERGENCY.

So I am sitting at the triage desk with the usual snarl on my face (sort of a get the the hell away from here presentation) and a person comes up to discuss on the wait time that was on the web site. The conversation went a little something like this:

MORON: The web site said the wait was 15 minutes and we have been waiting 30 minutes.

ME: Those wait times are usually not acurate.  ER situations can change minute to minute.

MORON: But, your hospital operator told me the wait was fifteen minutes...

ME: They shouldn't have told you that. Things change quickly.

MORON: Well who can I talk to about this. This is public information and it is not correct.  BLAHBLAH BLAH.  LALALA.

Now mind you it is Monday.  There are 58 people in the waiting room who have been waiting for hours. There is a line of people behind this guy. I gave them the ER managers home phone number and encouraged them to call  and have a long talk about the fraud being committed by the hospital in regard to ER wait times.  I told them the manager won't be home until midnight and doesn't mind being called that late.

9 comments:

jimbo26 said...

LOL , naughty .

Nurse K said...

They should post one wait time for assholes and another for normal people with emergencies. 180 mins vs. 2 mins, etc.

Jackie Champion said...

Hey there! Thank you for posting this information about emergency care. You have such an very interesting and informative page. I am looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. Keep it up! I'm so glad to pass by your page and to have additional knowledge about emergency care.
Well, I'd like to add that I have read in one article that emergency medicine encompasses a large amount of general medicine and surgery including the surgical sub-specialties. Emergency physicians are tasked with seeing a large number of patients, treating their illnesses and arranging for disposition—either admitting them to the hospital or releasing them after treatment as necessary. The emergency physician requires a broad field of knowledge and advanced procedural skills often including surgical procedures, trauma resuscitation, advanced cardiac life support and advanced airway management. Emergency physicians must have the skills of many specialists—the ability to resuscitate a patient (critical care medicine), manage a difficult airway (anesthesia), suture a complex laceration (plastic surgery), reduce (set) a fractured bone or dislocated joint (orthopedic surgery), treat a heart attack (cardiology), work-up a pregnant patient with vaginal bleeding (Obstetrics and Gynecology), stop a bad nosebleed (ENT), place a chest tube (cardiothoracic surgery), and to conduct and interpret x-rays and ultrasounds (radiology).
Emergency medical pros with a combined 40+ years of experience all in one pace.

Emergency Care Kingston

Anonymous said...

A couple years back I was attending college in a location about 5 hours away from home. I was under an HMO insurance plan and my primary care/medical group was only at home, 5 hours away. When I got sick or needed somewhat immediate medical attention, I was forced to visit an emergency room so my insurance would cover the visit ($50 copay). Otherwise, visiting a normal doctor outside my medical group would not be covered by insurance and I would be forced to pay 100% out of pocket (hundreds of dollars).

Just wanted to give you insight into why some morons might visit the emergency room when it is not an emergency.

Renee Maynes said...

The biggest problem I see with the ER posted wait times is, if you start meeting them, people will decide it's quicker to go the ER then wait around in the doctor's office. Definitely don't need everyone thinking the ER is a super fast walk in clinic.

Ally said...

I just read an article about software some hospitals are using called QuickER that actually allows patients to register from home and be put "in line" at the ER, but do most of the wait at home. The guy who invented it says he was inspired by sites like OpenTable that let you make online reservations for restaurants.

WTF?! I'm with you, if you have time to be doing that crap then you shouldn't be coming to the ER at all. Best part about QuickER: it requires patients certify that their situation isn't life-threatening. Basically it makes them certify that they don't need to come to the ER. Cool.

Ally said...

P.S. It also reinforces the thinking in the public that waiting at the ER is like waiting for a table at a restaurant: you get seen in the order that you came. Um, no. The triage nurse is not a hostess.

Carolyn said...

I agree that some people don't seem to realize that the ER is not first come first served. I will say for myself... When I was having spotting while pregnant (& the doctor's office was closed and the new Urgent Care was still being built... where else could I go?), I sat in the waiting room for hours, but didn't complain because I knew I was bottom of the priority list, but I will say, considering I didn't have dinner and my cramps were worsening I would have been more comfortable if I was waiting at home with my heating pad using that QuickER program. Then, 2 days later when I came in at 4am with excruciating pain they took me back much more quickly, but still couldn't treat me right away because they had to take care of a code first. Of course I told them "I understand" & mumbled (mostly joking) to my husband "The nerve of those people, having a heart attack when I'm lying here in pain." ;-)

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