So it’s been awhile since I’ve been here…since New Year’s, work has been incredibly busy. Shifts and days just blur into one another, especially since we’re increasingly taking on more and more patients from peripheral hospitals whose ER’s are either full or understaffed. Couple that with not being able to see patients in a timely fashion due to lack of non-occupied work space (the ER is becoming almost like an overflow medical ward instead of an emergency dept), well worker bees are getting annoyed, tired, other jobs, etc.
Patients themselves are being increasingly more difficult as well – some are very ill, some wish they were and others simply don’t have/can’t get into/don’t believe their family doctor they’ve already seen for their problem so feel they need to arrive and spend more tax payers’ dollars on a second or third opinion for their cold that hasn’t gone away in the 24 hours they’ve had it…and there is the problem with our health care system as it stands today.
Call me cynical, but I’m finding folks to be a lot needier than they ought to be these days – a quick twinge here, a sniffle there, something “just not right”, and they come screaming into the ER like they’re dying. Or, they’ve decided that today is the day I should get that ache looked at that’s just that – an ache – that’s been going on for the past 3 months and haven’t even tried something over the counter for it, or they find their blood pressure a tad high at the local pharmacy and they come flying in expecting something to be done NOW. The problem with folks like those is that they take up a lot of limited time and resources in emergency departments for things that aren’t emergencies – they’re things that family medicine folks should be dealing with. If I had a dime for every person that yelled at someone from our or any other ER because they’ve waited too long to get seen for their cold or their refill of medication (that will not be refilled there anyway), my job would be a hobby.
The other problem these days is the sense of entitlement and need for things having to be fixed RIGHT NOW people are taking on that is at best unreasonable and worst bordering on narcissism that is really outrageous. A person gets a cold, goes to a doctor or PA or NP and gets told it’s a cold – a viral infection – and gets mad because we won’t give them an antibiotic, which will in fact do diddly squat for that condition. What happens next is a full on fight because the “I need to get better RIGHT NOW” person doesn’t want to hear the advice I or others have had to spend a lot of time and money learning about and get paid to dole out because “My last doctor always gave me this” for their cold. We all know people like that, heck there might be some of you out there that are in fact “THOSE PEOPLE”.
I get that people get sick and sometimes need some help getting fixed up…even if it’s just us saying “Tincture of Time is your best remedy”. However, hystrionics are not the way to win friends or influence care providers in busy ER’s – being calm, asking appropriate questions and answering the same will speed up the process and get you where you need to be, whether it’s the ward, observation unit or even back home or to work. The thing you have to understand is, we’re not here to tell you what WANT to hear and give you what you WANT to have – we’re here to tell you what you NEED to hear and give you what you NEED to get better. “Primum non nocere” – “First do no harm” means don’t give you stuff that you don’t need or might even make you worse, just because that’s what you want. To put that another way, healthcare providers aren’t baristas at Starbucks.