If you pick up a newspaper, you will more likely than not, find negative articles reporting the current state of our healthcare environment. I recently read an article online, and found the bottom line difficult to digest: emergency room wait times, across the country, are endangering the lives of sick and injured patients.
Almost two years ago, when my sister-in-law was pregnant with my youngest niece, she was experiencing severe pain in her stomach and was worried something might be wrong with the baby. My brother rushed her to the hospital emergency room in my hometown, and upon arrival, they experienced the sad state of inefficiency in our emergency rooms.
They checked in, and sat in the waiting room. After 15 minutes, and my sister-in-law’s pain quickly and drastically increasing, my brother went back to the administrator’s window and demanded she see a doctor immediately. The woman behind the glass told him they’d have to wait their turn; the doctor was treating someone with a sprained ankle — really?
My brother returned to the waiting room to find his wife on the floor, with intolerable pain in her stomach. His third trip to the hospital administrator, and the fact that one of their patients’ lives could be on the line, and the possibility of a lawsuit in the hospital’s future, prompted the attention they should have gotten 45-minutes earlier.
Luckily, the pain my sister-in-law was experiencing was not related to the baby, and both mother and daughter are alive and healthy today. But this is just one example of the goings on in today’s healthcare environment. Patient safety is being compromised in emergency rooms across America.
The New York Times, published an article on Saturday, Feb. 19, and the headline read, ‘Deadly waits.’ The story reported that, “hundreds of emergency rooms have closed nationally, partially due to a decrease in physician services. Emergency room visits are increasing at twice the rate of the American population, and only eight-percent of patients are there for non-urgent illnesses or injuries.”
Now that’s scary!
The uncertainty of the current healthcare environment has left hospital administrators, physicians, and patients, alike, asking, ‘Isn’t there a better way?’