A three-hour trip to the local ER was very disappointing and I wasn’t even the patient.
My 96-pound, 86-year-old Mother in law has cellulitis. Because getting into a primary care doctor nowadays could be anytime between now and her funeral, most likely closer to her funeral. They’re booked months out, they’re short-handed and there are very few in town.
We walked in and waited by the registration window. The admissions representative wasn’t there, no big deal, they’re constantly running paperwork. It was when she came back that things went south. She didn’t even glance at either of us let alone smile or acknowledge our presence. She sat down and began typing. I watched the clock, it was a full two minutes plus when she finally said, “I’ll be with you in a minute.” I chuckled to myself and thought, “That ship has already sailed.” but I didn’t say it out loud; I doubt she would have paid attention. After a minute, as stated, she said, “Birthdate?” still without as much as a glance in our direction. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have been holding a severed body part in my hands and she wouldn’t have noticed. Then she said, “Name?”, “Last Name?”My mother-in-law answered, still not a glance. Unbelievable, but true. I must tell you that this was extremely odd. My mother-in-law has the last name that usually draws a look or two, a comment, and an obvious question. My mother-in-law’s last name is Trump. Still nothing. She stood up without looking at us and it wasn’t until after she asked my mother-in-law to extend her arm for the plastic bracelet and my mother-in-law complied that she finally risked a quick glance but that was it.
They were busy, I thought maybe she was having a bad day. We had a seat and waited to be called. While waiting, I watched her check in two more people and she didn’t act any different toward them. She never made eye contact. She wasn’t rude, just without social skills; not the type of person who should be front line in an ER.
These are sick people coming to you for care and compassion, do you think maybe you could possibly flash a smile, maybe look at the person you’re talking to, something to show a bit of care and compassion?
We got called and walked down to the “overflow room.” The room is usually reserved for patients under security watch. There is a stationary bed in the room, it’s permanently mounted to the floor but they did manage to shove an extra gurney in the room with it. There wasn’t room for my mother in laws walker to fit between beds, so it half blocked the doorway in front of the gurney and stuck out into the hallway.
The question and answer portion took place with the nurse in the doorway and went something like this:
Q: Have you received any vaccines? Flu?
A: “No, I get one every year but I haven’t yet this year, it’s not flu season yet.”
A: “No, I don’t really see the point.”
A: Emphatically, “NO and I won’t be!”
When they pushed the gurney into the room, they pushed it up against the open door making it impossible to close the door and there wasn’t a curtain in the doorway. I don’t know if it violated any HIPPA laws, everyone passing by was privy to what was going on in there, but it most definitely violated and privacy consideration you should expect. I also had both excellent eye and ear shots of the gentleman across the hall as his door was left wide open without obstructions. It wasn’t just us, many doors/curtains were wide open as we walked down the hall to get to the room in the first place. Don’t you think patients deserve a little privacy and dignity anymore?
My mother-in-law also has an ulcer on her backside that Mesa View Home Health Care had been treating for 9 months with no progress. We hired a new home care agency and it’s been healing for the past two months but she is still under Mesa View’s wound care clinic orders NOT to put pressure of any kind on the wound. We told the nurses but they insisted she get up on the gurney anyway where she sat for three hours on the wound she was not supposed to put pressure on. A second nurse came in and we repeated the concern. She asked if my mother-in-law would like a pillow to take the pressure off, she said, “Yes, please that would be wonderful.” The nurse started an IV, left to go get the pillow and we never saw her again.
A half an hour late a third nurse came in to remove the IV and discharge her. She moved the walker several times while working her way around the two sides of the bed she was able to get to. Handed me the discharge paperwork and said, “Sign this for her.” I didn’t, my mother-in-law is not feeble-minded, she’s quite capable of signing her own paperwork. When my mother-in-law began to get up from the bed the nurse said, “Oh, you walk?” I’m no spring chicken but I certainly don’t look like I was the owner of the walker she jockeyed around. I had all sorts of sarcastic comebacks running through my head but said nothing. We took the discharge papers, and thank goodness the nurse gave the instructions orally and they were very easy.
I say that because we didn’t look at the papers until we got back to her house. They were completely in Spanish, with no English translation, my mother-in-law doesn’t have an accent, she’s pale white with blue eyes, why would anyone think to give her health care instructions in Spanish? At the very least, you’re dealing with people’s health care, could you perhaps pay a bit closer attention?
The only thing that kept it from being “the ER visit from hell” was the temperature, it was freezing in there; my goosebumps had goosebumps.
The general consensus among many hospital employees, both past and present, is incompetent departmental management and possibly nepotism. The hospital runs like a “Four Ring Circus and it’s only getting worse.” There are serious supply issues that have nothing to do with backorders and the supply chain. Eight weeks ago they were out of basic wound care supplies and someone had to be transferred to St. George for minor surgery. While we were waiting for the transfer papers, someone in the hallway promptly announced the hospital was out of chest tubes. Something that is a basic stock item in any ER. They have PAR levels for all stock items, it’s not that difficult to pay attention.
From start to end or the three-hour trip to the ER, they really never paid attention. Like my mother-in-law, who can walk and sign her own name, and myself, patients are noticing the lack of attention. When you’re talking healthcare, diagnosing and treating disease or injury, and elderly patients, you better damn well pay attention to what you’re doing and who you’re doing it to.
Many patients who used to go to Mesa View are now reaching out to Doctors in Las Vegas or St. George. They have been for a while. Many don’t feel they can receive quality health care in the local hospital. If they do find a health care professional they trust, it isn’t long before they’re gone.
Just an FYI, the revolving door you’ve been using for employees, works just as well for patients: they will use it.