Sunday, January 23, 2011
An Open Letter to the ER staff at the Mother Ship
Just to let you know, this letter is two fold. Some praise and some rebuking from a patient who has spent more than her fair share there.
I had to come in Thursday night because of back/chest pain and shortness of breath. I'm a healthy 44 year old active woman, so there is normally no need for concern, but in light of the fact that I had a pulmonary embolism about 3 years ago, we have learned that we have to check it out every damn time. Am I happy about coming in, sitting with the other sick patients in the lobby, hoping I don't catch something else while I am there? Of course not, but your triage staff is well trained and know that anyone presenting with my symptoms gets a fast pass to the back. Thank you.
Kudos to the paramedic student who introduced himself as he started to get my vitals and monitors hooked up. He didn't even give me a dirty look when I asked him if he was 12. Well done kid.
Shout out to Martha my nurse whose broken English made me both long for Cancun, and wish I spoke Spanish so I could communicate a little better. She was the epitome of professionalism. Not only did she get me with the first poke on the IV - but days later, I don't even have a bruise. Awesome!
I believe I had the kindest ER doc I have come across. Dr Mooers. I even asked him about being related to another Mooers physician and while admitting being siblings, cracked a joke that put me at ease. He was thorough, professional and when it came time to discharge me was the most gentle, sweetest, kindest doc ever. He has a new fan. He prolly has as many or more fans than his physician sister.
CT tech? You rock. Well done. I've had my share of CT scans and this was done quickly, efficiently and even though I wanted to die when the heat of the contrast hit me, you quickly moved me on my way and took my mind off it all.
HOWEVER - to the idiots who stood in the hall talking outside my room before I left for my scan? You can suck it! I think you may need some lessons in sensitivity. While you did not disclose names, I still didn't need to hear about how you are PSA (Patient Safety Advocates), how you are preparing for a suicide watch, how you have had two patients in the past attempt to hang themselves in the room, and worse, your laughing and lightheartedness. I drifted into my phentyl doze for a little bit and awoke to a big mouth nurse loudly berating the patient that had been admitted to that room about her swallowing the large amounts of pills. Her abrupt questioning and rude demanding tone about set me right off the edge. I asked Splenda to shut the door. I couldn't listen to her and them anymore.
When I came back from my scan, I was grateful to note that they had changed me rooms. When I asked Martha why, she said something about a patient that needed to be watched closely. That's when I let loose and told her what happened and how much it had bothered me, and why.
ER Patient Safety Advocate dudes - you may see it all. I cannot even imagine a typical night on your shift, and granted it was a full moon - guaranteed for even more odd stuff. But for the love of all that's holy, have a little sensitivity. Do you have any idea that EVERYONE in that hall could hear you talking? And maybe suicide hits a little close to home for some people - did ya ever think about that? Next time, how's about you keep your chatter to a private area, stay on a professional level and consider that others might find your discussion less than entertaining. I hope the young lady that you were assigned to that night was able to sift through your callousness and hopefully someone was there for her that she could talk to and get some help.
As for me, I am thankful for the great care I received. I was treated quickly, professionally and with respect. My every need was seen to. I couldn't asked for more, and for that I am thankful. I ended up walking out of there with a diagnosis of pleurisy, and while my back and chest still hurt, I know that over time, I will get better.
My heart goes out to the young patient that was across the hall. I am hoping that with time, she will too.
The patient that brings her own blankie with her.