Poor triage or impatient patients?

Apparently, some patients are taking action against the long ER waits. From The Bostonchannel.com comes this story of 2 patients. One was a young girl who waited six hours before being seen. It turned out she had appendicities and when she was operated on, the “doctor said she was a mess when he opened her up”.

The other case was a 39-yo female who had to wait 2 hours before being seen for an asthma attack. During the wait, it seemed like she was given 2 nebulizer treatments without improvements. Fed up, she ended up calling 911 where she was transferred to another facility and admitted for 2 days.

Several hour waits in the ER is nothing new. The main reason being poor (or no) access to primary care physicians, thus clogging up the ER with non-emergent cases. The appendicitis case seemed like it could have been triaged more aggressively. Regarding the asthma case, she was given 2 nebs while waiting to see the physician. The only additional action would have been to give IV steroids – which she must have received at the other facility. Tough to say without being there – but sad to say that these cases are not infrequent. Good triage is key.

✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers
✓ Get KevinMD's most popular stories