Liability is why your doctor told you to come right to the ER

An ER nurse tells us how she really feels
A tirade for the ages. I’ll quote one part that rings true (expletives censored by me):

Do not believe that because your doctor told you to come right to the ER that you have a right to be seen right away. Let us discuss why he really said that; LIABILITY. Your doctor doesnÂ’t give a ratÂ’’s ass about little JohnnyÂ’’s sniffles as long as heÂ’’s out of the clinic before 5:00. Filling up his over-booked appointment calendar could have an adverse affect on that, but sending them ‘right awayÂ’ to the ER wonÂ’t! AND no one can ever sue him for bad advice or irresponsible behavior because he TOLD them to go the ER ‘Right awayÂ’ for the ‘Highest level of care.Â’ Gotta keep those malpractice premiums down! . . .

. . . 2) Advice nurses are the bane of our existence. Sure they can’t tell everything over the phone, sure people are generally bad communicators, sure the clinics and doctors are over-booked, sure it’s 2-6 weeks out to even see a doctor, sure my cheap-ass HMO added another 90,000 new members last month but no infrastructure to deal with them, but the solution for this is not Not NOT to ‘go to the ER right away where they will fill the fantasies that our unscrupulous marketing department has instilled in you.’ **** off. I love getting advice nurses for patients. They must know because they are reluctant to mention it. We hate them all and feel no shame in railing against them while they suffer (off the clock) in their sick and/or injured misery.

She’s right. The fear of liability is why we send so many people to the ED. But don’t take it out on the advice nurses, they are simply doing what the docs are instructing. And that means sending everyone in question to the ER to be evaluated as a cya measure. You can see the pressures of defensive medicine has gotten to this nurse in particular. (via GruntDoc and code: theWebSocket;)

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