Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ten Minutes Or Less

Patients in the ER often complain to me about their extended waits for things like specialist consultations or imaging procedures. In those situations, I try to explain that we are at our best when you are at your worst. Despite its de facto role as a primary care center in today's world, the ER remains designed to handle life-threatening emergencies.

We proved that last night when EMS brought in a middle-aged female shot in the abdomen during a home invasion. In the span of nine minutes from when she rolled through the door, the team placed two IVs, hung a unit of uncrossmatched blood, intubated the patient, checked her body from head to toe for other injuries, had her placed on a portable monitor and vent, and rolling up to the OR.

Those are the patients that don't wait, while the ones with abdominal pain for six months do.

It's unfortunate to be in either category, but despite the waiting, I would still hope to be in the later.


little d, S.N. said...

Wow! Nice job with that! Some people just don't seem to understand that THEIR idea of "emergency" and ours are slightly different..."it hurts" is not the same as "Blood! All over the place! BLOOD!!!"

Second Shift said...

Well as I told her, we treat everyone, regardless of their definition of emergency. No one gets turned away. BUT, those with less urgent (or completely not at all urgent) complaints do end up waiting. Just the way it is.