Thursday, March 27, 2008
Granted I have not been at this game for very long, but there seems to be a general lack of common sense among many of our patients. The seasoned attendings swear it is just getting worse. A blight of stupidity.
If your child has a fever, and you take him to the Emergency Department and he/she gets given some Tylenol, which breaks the fever and you even go home with a prescription for Tylenol (which will be free to fill as the child is covered by Medicaid), why in the world would you not simply give the child the Tylenol as directed? Why would you return to the ED 12 hours later, have the child be doled out another dose of Tylenol by the triage nurse, sit through over a three-hour wait to even get seen by a physician, and then get mad at me when I give your runny-nosed, now afebrile toddler a popsicle, and discharge him home 10 minutes later? Sicker patients get a higher priority. And, I am not about to admit a well-hydrated tot with a cold to a hospital already short of beds because a parent can't follow simple instructions!
What more can I do? We can't physicially hand out medications because there's no way to stock supplies large enough to cover everything prescribed. At some point, parents have to have the responsibility to go to the pharmacy (several of which are open 24-hours) and get the prescription filled. (Or in this case, they could shell out the $5 for the medicine since it's over-the-counter, instead of spending their money on cigarettes and manicures.)
I know that I have ranted about this before, but the situation becomes all the more frustrating when the pipes in the dirty utility room start backing up and overflowing into the lobby. The whole waiting room had to be evacuated because of noxious fumes, so what we were left with was hallways of impatient (and mostly, non-sick) people corralled off and harassing nursing staff about the wait time. If I had a sore throat and was in a waiting room with dozens of people in front of me to see the doctor, and the room had to be cleared because of a hazardous exposure, I would just go home, or better yet, walk the block-and-a-half around the corner to the hospital next door, which is physicially attached to ours.
People, there wouldn't be any wait time if you only came in for emergencies.