Every morning I would find that the damn needle had gone interstitial: stuck in the surrounding tissue rather than the vein. Three times this happened, and each time necessitated a visit to the emergency department for repair.
We thought a 93 year-old with a skin infection and an interstitial IV site would fast track through the ER, at least ahead of the snotty noses and black eyes.
Of course we were wrong.
On the first visit, we waited five hours and received treatment not from a doctor but a nurse practitioner. On the second visit, there were five doctors, but all of them were glued to the bed of the lady next to us who apparently had a fascinating rash. Only one of the doctors was the lady’s actual attending; the others just stood around gawking and left when the fun was over.
The final ER visit was the doozy: eight long hours in the emergency department. It could have been a much shorter visit; we got there at 8:30 and by 11:30 were waiting on test results and the final word from the doctor. But then the radiology department lost the test results. Almost 4 hours later, the results reappeared and we were on our way.
Let me first say that I believe–as all Canadians do–that when it comes to health care you wait your fair turn. Nobody should get ahead of anybody else because they have better connections or more money or they scream louder (although I will admit that I asked my father to moan a little in the hopes of attracting medical attention.) In Canada, the wait time standard for non-acute emergency care is 4 to 5 hours, excluding registration and triage. I do think, however, that Emergency Departments can do a lot better–starting with smacking doctors who should be doing more treating and less gawking.
The other thing I would change about the Emergency Department is moving its location closer to the damn cafeteria–or having one of its own. Or maybe even a bar (and not the coffee kind). If I gotta be marooned somewhere for hours on end, I require a special kind of sustenance.