Saturday, September 1, 2007

less than ideal care

Today I had to head to the hospital to visit a parishioner. Being a Saturday there was no volunteer to tell me her room number, nor was there anyone at the admitting desk, so off to the ER I went. The only trouble is that the ER has recently been remodeled and it is a bit of a trick to get there, so I wandered inside and out and finally had to ask for directions, which were poor in and of themselves. Once I did arrive, I stood at the window for someone to help me. No dice. I waited some more until another woman came in having a panic attack, I buzzed the nurses for her and they attended to her (well, as much as one might consider "fill out the form and go sit until we call you" *attending*) and then didn't bother to ask what I needed. I waited a bit longer and behind me a line started to form. There were easily 8 people waiting for help, and really no one to take their intake forms or answer their questions. I finally got someone to give me a room number and I headed upstairs. I visited with my parishioner for a bit and talked with her about the lack of care she was receiving and how slow things were to happen. As I talked with her, I thought she might have had heat stroke (she had yet to see the doctor and receive a diagnosis) and she definitely looked dehydrated, and she failed the skin pinch test. I told her she might want to talk to her doctor about an IV for fluids when she saw him. As I left, the nurse came in, apologizing for forgetting to bring her headache medicine, a request she had received over a half hour prior, a request the patient had made to another nurse over 2 hours before that, while she was there my parishioner asked about dehydration and I mentioned the failed skin test and the nurse said "oh that's normal for old people". She said her chem panel looked normal, but I still had my doubts. I mean, it seems to me that when the temperature has topped 110 over the last few days and you have a patient who is fatigued, light headed, nauseus, and fails the pinch test that fluids might just help the situation, but what do I know?! I realize Hemet doesn't have the worst medical care possible, I have seen much worse, but I do know it is bad, at the very best mediocre. No one I know actually trusts the medical care provided here and the nurses I know generally tend to head out of town for any kind of hospital that's bad when you won't even go to the hospital where you work because you know how poor the care is. Yikes!

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