Doctor, Doctor…..

U-M Emergency Department

Image by UMHealthSystem via Flickr

This post is prompted by a conversation myself and a friend were having today about Emergency Departments. We were talking about the triaging system that is in place in every emergency department in the world, and I was explaining that this is possibly the only thing  that keeps some semblance of sanity in a normally chaotic environment.

ED is a place overflowing with emotions at the height of every extreme. People are scared, angry, in pain, distraught, and sick. Not one person in this room (and I am quite sure this includes the staff, who are pulling their hair out trying to deal with it), are thinking of others. But, then you get that one person, who thinks themselves smarter and more important than anyone else. That person who unlike anyone else in that room, decides that they should not have to wait the crazy amount of time usually allocated to their simple cough or cold, that they decided was beyond the ability of their local GP. These people, in their selfish wisdom, walk up to the triage desk, and claim chest pain, because they know that they will get seen quicker than anyone else. Have they not been told the story of the boy who cried wolf?

These people are surprisingly common! My pet hate as a nurse are these people. It does not matter to them that that one person who really does have chest pain, now gets neglected because of their selfish act. I have heard stories of people ringing an ambulance claiming chest pain, and on arrival of the ambulance have been leaning up against a wall, smoking a cigarette, and all they really wanted was a blanket!

I guess what I am saying, is think about why your are attending the already over flowing emergency departments, try and think about the other patients who are there – there is usually a pretty damn good reason that we are required to wait six hours, and PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE acknowledge that the staff working there are usually harrassed enough dealing with heightened emotions, with out us complaining about the time it takes to wait. Something hospital staff have very little control over. We can not flick a switch that means people stop getting hurt or sick.

Have a little humanity and compassion.


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