Sunday, January 23, 2011

An Open Letter to the ER staff at the Mother Ship

Dear ER staff members who worked Thursday night January 20, 1010,
     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.


suz said...

You might want to print this up and send it to admin, if you haven't already...

gigi said...

I am so sorry you are sick. That is painful and I hope heal quickly! I'm also sorry for the INSENSITIVITY of some that night. Nothings worse when you are already sick to have to listen to such and on such a tender subject. Blessings for a peaceful day. ((hugs))

tammy said...

I'd be forwarding this for sure.

There are many occasions when people really should think about what they're saying and who can hear them. Really, who knows what has gone on in someone else's life?


I am glad you got great care too, but C'mon!!!! I would let some one know. That is uncalled for.

Kelly said...

That hurts! People can be pretty callous sometimes. Good luck with all you have gong on.

Pedaling said...

a little sensitivity is in order, not only in this field, but in the lives of us all.

Glad you're okay.

Suzie said...

Man are you okay? Sheesh you have been given a load as of late.

Please forward this. If that was my daughter/son in that room?
I shudder to think....

your voice can make necessary changes there.

glad you're alright.
are you alright?

linda said...

Being a nurse myself, this really hits close to home. I'm forever reminding our techs at work to lower their voices and to watch what they are talking about. Professionalism is a hugh thing for me.

As health professionals, every move we make is closely watched by our patients and we should be aware of how we present and carry ourselves. Saying and doing the appropriate thing is on my mind from the minute I hit that time clock in the morning (at 5:00am I might add!)

I'm so glad that you are feeling better but so sorry for the inconvenience. Hope you are your old self soon!

Give Sissy a hug for me!

Cherie said...

Some peoples kids!!
I'm glad you are OK. I didn't know you had an embolism in the past that is scary.

" Hit It......." said...

I am so glad your ok. This is really scary. I think it's due to ALL of your stess. I am going to call and bug you this week.

Feel better!

Ann Marie said...

Don't hold back.. tell us how you really feel.. :)

I say.. print it.. and send it.
I am wondering which hospital this was.....

Good for bringing your own blankie..
Sorry for the insensitivity...

Mrs. Organic said...

You know those follow up survey calls they do? At the end they ask if there is anything you would like to discuss further with management from the hospital...and this would be the perfect thing.

It was unfortunate that you had to overhear such a callous disregard for someone's privacy as well as observe the lack of sensitivity for someone who so obviously needed it, expecially considering everything that has happened recently.

I feel for the patient. And for you. I hope the pain subsides and you get some relief. Hugs!

Connie said...

You see all kinds in a hospital setting. My son was in the hospital for 3 weeks and believe me, I started keeping a log of all the interesting people who came in to his room to treat him. I'm glad you were treated well and I hope that painful pleurisy leaves you real soon!

Garden of Egan said...

Wow Em, glad you DON'T have a PE! Scary!
Pleurisy is a stinker too.

Sorry about the callous raunch that was such a big mouth.
Sometimes it is time to get out of the profession.

I wish I could bring you some chicken soup.
And a hug.

Now, enough! You've had enough.
Find the EASY button and pound on it a time or too OK?

Nancy said...

Wow! People never cease to amaze me. I have a few stories I could share from Sophia's 7 weeks in the NICU at IMC and Primary Children's. I had the best of the best and the worst of the worst in nurses and doctors. Bless their hearts!

Glad you are okay. I hope all with the girl across the hall will be okay, too.

Cheeseboy said...

I commented on Facebook, but I forgot to tell you, I have had Pleurisy TWICE and it SUCKS!!! It hurts like hell. It is miserable. I am so sorry for you.

Lene said...

I really hope you start feeling better.

Stupid people are...well just stupid.

Missy said...

I went send this too. That is so not professional to be discussing such details of patient behavior.

Glad to hear you received some good care!

carma said...

I'm glad you are going to be OK - and that you brought it to the hospital's attention about the buffoons and their callousness - totally uncalled for

Plain Jame said...

I totally concur - I hate when people in the hospitals that deal with this as their life forget that other people are being traumatized. It bugs me when they show their desensitized ways!!
I know I said this before, but pleurisy is awful horrid evil painful psycho. I sure hope you're on the mend by now!