Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wake Up Call

Edith Isabel Rodriguez
Attention Drug Seekers:
If you cry wolf often enough,
we won't believe you when you need us.

It's tragic that she died. It's scary that it could happen at any reasonably busy ER. It's horrible that we'll never know the truth.
We have patients that push the limits of status dramaticus every day. We try to take them seriously every time, just in case. But sometimes, it's just too busy. We've all taken care of someone that sat in the lobby longer than they should have, for reasons beyond our control. It's just the way it is.
Someday, when we're perfect, mistakes won't happen. We'll magically be able to separate the drug seekers from the really sick people. Even if they are one and the same.
But we're only human. Cut us some slack. And leave the poor 911 operators alone.
EDIT: If you want to read the Coroner's Report, go here. (Thanks, Babs.)
ADDITIONAL EDIT 6/19/07: Anyone coming here from Universal Health; welcome. To see why N=1 hates me, go here. If you think N=1 is crayzee, too, make sure to check out the summary of last week's fun. Welcome back N=1. Every crowd needs a crayzee.
ANOTHER ADDITIONAL EDIT 6/25/07: Anyone coming here from Universal Health this time; welcome. Yes, she's crayzee. Yes, she's obsessed with me. I can't help it. It's my cheekbones. They turn her on. I wish she'd leave me alone.


Anonymous said...

Wow, that lady's uglier than I pictured.

Constance said...

Controversial topic, mainly from those who don't work inside. When you deal with it, you know that some people cry wolf/are frequent fliers/are drug seekers, etc.

I have to say (privately)that I feel sorrier for the personnel at the emergency room than I do for her.
They will deal with flack now that it is in the news that is unfair considering the circumstances they were dealing with at the time.

Had there been an open bed, and no-one else in front of her in the waiting room, the woman would have gotten taken care of sooner.

Sometimes people have to wait up to 4 hours to get one of our beds. If you don't come in by ambulance, fuggedaboutit.

(Then again, 75% of the people who come in should be seen at a clinic or urgent care anyway because it isn't an emergency...)

Barbara said...

I've worked where there was an average 6 hr wait every evening and that was NOT The level 1 trauma center - it was across town, where the average wait time was around 12 hours and they told the difference between the good days and the bad days by whether the hall stretchers were lined up head-to-toe or shoulder-to-shoulder and where they'd have to step over people lying in the floor to code another one lying in the floor.

I realize the facility in question has a long history of real problems and I agree that from what they're saying about the videotape that it does sound like she was essentially dismissed entirely - even by the janitor mopping around her - but I wish for once they would look at why people have to wait so long and fix thatinstead of just blaming it on the facilities and their staff and making them answer to BS "disciplinary action".

Had a case in a smaller hospital where I actually had to interrupt a triage with a little girl who had possibly accidentally swallowed some of her grandfather's pills because a respiratory arrest came in at that very moment. Only two nurses in that ER and I was one of them, it's all about priorities.

kathie said...

If you want to read the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report along with the public hospital's responses, go here: