There are many people that seriously just don't understand the process of who needs to be in the Emergency Department and who does not! ER nurses and providers are totally frustrated with the minor complaints that show up on our door steps that could have easily waited until their primary care doctor, clinic or the urgent care was open. Even trying some home care measures before you run to the ER is OK, giving your child some Tylenol or children's Motrin and actually waiting to see if it works is A OK you know (or do you know?). Have you called your own doctor, pediatrician or dentist? most of them have an on call service? Or did you just panic and freak out?
Coming to the ER for something stupid and uncalled for just exposes you to more germs, adds to the wait times in all the ER's, takes a bed away from someone that actually may need it (yes really) and adds to the stress of the already overburdened system. (Yes I am on my soapbox today)
Coming to the ER with complaints like these drive me nuts: (yes these are actual complaints that I have heard as an ER nurse over the last 25+ years) --no names of course to protect privacy, some things have been changed. Picture the look on my face when I heard these complaints.....lol
- A cough for 3 years ( today was the day to get checked out)
- My toothpaste made my gums hurt (she really wanted a work note and narcotics)
- My big toe is sore (pt had new shoes and wanted a work note)
- My toe nail polish made my toes red (rash) - noted pt had on red nail polish
- My partner cheated on me and I want to be "checked" (she actually cheated and had 3 std's)
- I have something stuck in my teeth ( omg you don't want to know what it was)
- I have had a condom stuck in my vagina for 3 months (it was a French tickler- smelled so good)
- My period is way to heavy... ( she was crazy actually )
- I have had chest pain for 3 years (and I needed a ride in the ambulance closer to my house)
- My vibrator is stuck and I need the batteries changed soon ( you can only imagine)
- I have money stuck up in my vagina and I need change for the laundry mat (a frequent flyer)
- I need you to give my child Tylenol here in the ER so I will have money for the laundry mat.
- I have a rash on my hand (no rash to be seen anywhere)
- My child has a fever of 99.1 (child running all over the room eating chips and drinking Pepsi)
- I flushed my pain medication down the toilet by accident and need refills (oh by the way I am from out of state) -- wanted drugs, was lying of course
- I fell off the roof in 1986 and my back still hurts, I want my back surgery now!! (it is 2006 now)
- My baby needs to be checked (had not been to well child checkups since mom had been busy she said) (I want a check mark stamp)
- My child needs his football physical (mom was told that the ER does not do physicals, she wanted to check in and wait anyhow) (the doctor told her no after she waited 3 hours)
I could go on and on with these ridiculous type of complaints that are all actually real, these patients also think they should be seen first, even before your chest pain or stroke symptoms, they can make the most noise in the lobby. One lady told me once "I don't care if that baby is not breathing, I am going to be late getting home and my probation officer will find out I am not at home, so I need you to write me a note NOW!!!" I just smiled at her and walked away..................
Next time you are in the ER or even a Urgent Care facility, tell the nurses and providers thank you for all the hard work they do, putting up with bull-crap and just smiling-- then saving your loved one's life.
On a serious note, if you are truly sick or just don't know, then by all means come in to the ED. I would much rather help you make that decision than you stay home having chest pain, shortness of breath, an allergic reaction to something or stroke like symptoms. Trust your gut, especially if you are a parent, you know your child, if they are just not acting right.... seek treatment... call your peds doctor first and then come to the ER. Most pediatricians want to talk to you first before you head to the ER. Unless your child is an infant under 90 days old with a fever over 100.5 rectally, that is a real emergency and needs to be seen, unless you have made other arrangements with your pediatrician already.
Call 911 if you need to, they can treat most emergent problems in the field before you even get to the ED. They are highly trained in their profession and can make the choices you might not be able to in an emergency.
It is really easy to send you home, when we have ruled out all the bad things that can "kill you dead today" . It is much harder to tell your family that you are gone :(
Weeeeeeeeeee! little piggie