Thursday, June 14, 2007

health care

A good friend of mine (Tina Hall) posted the following on her blog:

I don't generally watch the news but last night I stayed up and watched the Calgary Global News hour @ 11pm. The top story was about a 18 year old boy who was taken to Emergency and diagnosed with a burst appendix and was scheduled for surgery. While he and his mom waited, 12 hours passed and sadly so do he. Yes you read it right, he died. The CHR says it wouldn't have matter how long or short the wait was, he would have died no matter what. I am puzzled by this, why then schedule him for surgery if there was nothing they could do to prevent the worst outcome? Why not tell the family there's nothing they can do and to have all his family with him in his last hours? Why? The CHR's response doesn't make sense to me.
On the KTLA news their top story was about a women in pain and laying on the floor of a Emergency waiting room in a US Hospital, somewhere. As she laid there in pain no one on staff would help her. I don't know why she couldn't get help, but she ended up dying right there, in a place that had the full capacity to prevent it.
So This posts titled "Really!", because from my last post, making an ER visit the other day, I am REALLY Thankful to have have and ER so close and to have short waiting times. Yes Nevee wasn't a serious case but still her croup could have been so bad her vocal cords could have swollen shut in the very worse scenario. Our hospital isn't equipped with everything, if surgery is needed you would be rushed to Lethbridge Regional. But by the time you wait at the LRH and are seen and diagnosed you would probably already be in surgery if you had been looked at in Raymond and taken to the LRH. (does that make sense?)
Anyway REALLY Thankful is how I feel!


and this is her previous post about her own visit to emerg.

I hummed and haud a little because I didn't want to waste any ones time and didn't think there was anything they really could do. But I called Debi, she was over in 5 mins and I took Nev to the Hospital. The Nurse listened to her breathing asked if she had asthma, I said "no", and took her temperature, 39.6 C. Yikes. The X-Ray tech was called in and the Dr came in just after. X-rays were take of Nevee's chest to see if there was any fluid in her lungs. Dr. Greg Smith came in and as soon as he herd her cough he said "Oh I wish my intern was here, that is the classic cough for croup. We should record it, it's so textbook." lol. He listened to her lungs and checked the x-rays, no fluid in her lungs. Good! He explained about croup that it is essentially her vocal cords swelling from a virus and the raspy sound is just the air trying to get in and out. Kind of like if you were whistling. He prescribed one dose of something, called Dex.... something, that would take care of the worst of it and if she couldn't breathe well again to take outside for 10 mins or so. I guess cold air shrinks the vocal cords when it comes to croup. No wonder why she felt better that afternoon when she went out to play. My Poor baby! So I tilted this post Thankful, there are so many reasons why:
1. To live in this prosperous country, province and town.
2. I didn't have to pay for a ER visit.
3. Didn't have to pay for the meds.
4. No x-ray fee.
5. Only waited 5 mins to see the nurse and then 25 mins to see the x-ray tech and another 15 minutes to see the Dr. I was in and out of there in 50 minutes.
6. Diagnosis wasn't asthma or worse.
7. Technology and medical research
8. My mother in law
9. Kirk for pushing me to go.
10. Nurse Lisa, x-ray Margaret and Dr. Smith they were wonderful


about the boy with the burst appendix...once it has burst, there is very little to do, except get in and clean it out because it is a major source of infection. he was probably septic (which means the infection got into his blood and spread all over), they were right when they said it didn't matter how long he waited. they didn't know that he would die and they will still do all they can (schedule the surgery and get him in as fast as they can, which may not seem very fast to the public, but it's not as easy as it seems.
as for the lady in the US emerg...triage puts through those that are the sickest and those that aren't need to wait. unfortunately sometimes you can't tell exactly what is wrong with a person. and just because she was screaming in pain, doesn't put her to the front of the line (i've seen plenty of people in "pain" that really weren't that bad off). it is sad, but the same thing could happen here.
as for your visit to the raymond emerg, don't let that cloud your vision. wait times in lethbridge can be just as bad as calgary. even if you are coming from a rural site. don't get me wrong, emergent (life threatening) cases do get in faster (they do anywhere), but it may not be as fast as you think. it's because people (the exact opposite of you) go to emerg for the stupidest things and take time and beds from those that really need them (like the lady the died in the waiting room). we all need to be smart about how we use our medical resources.

I post this in hopes of clarifying some things and giving another persective. as health care workers it is hard to explain some things to families, especially when they are grieving the loss of a loved one. we really do all that we can to help those that need help. it's not always easy and sometimes mistakes are made, other times there are too many and not enough resources.
my second purpose is to make people think carefully about how they use the health care system. we need to use it wisely. tina, you needed to use it, and you benefited from a great system. we don't need to go to emerg when the problem can wait until you can see a doctor at a clinic (splinters, cold, flu, rash, other minor problems). even stitches can be done at a clinic or urgent care facility (we've got urgent care in picture butte with a doctor on call 24h). check out the resources available to you before running to emerg.
there, have i vented enough? i have other issues with health care, but we'll save those for another day!

2 comments:

TinaLaRae said...

I love that you explained things further on the situation brought up, it really did answer some of my questions and also reminded me that there are 2 sides to every story. Thanks a bunch!

Amana said...

Good words.