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Anti Rant – The Canberra Hospital ER

By Danman - 31 May 2011 22

Just about everyone has a rant story about ER’s but no one ever hears when things go according to plan, because it does not make great news.

So with that in mind, I thought I would break the mold and recount my ER experience from the sunday just gone.

Miss Danman, a cochlear implant recipient was suffering a fever that was not self resolving, so at 8am Sunday, with a temp of 40.4 we decided we needed to go to the ER.

We presented at the ER and were assessed by the nurse on duty and were given an urgency of 3, where 1 is life threatening and 5 is non urgent (My definition; not clinical).

We sat down and waited and were eventually taken to the pediatric ER ward.

Without getting into specifics, we were seen to by a nurse Initially and obs taken around every hour.

Yes, we had to hydrate and medicate and collect a urine sample from our daughter ourself,under advice from staff, but were supplied all things required to do so.

At the change of shift, the nurses did changeover with staff and also done the rounds to introduce themselves to the patients and their family and further assess the patients.

In all, we were in the paediatric ER for around 7 hours.

I think where people get disappointed is when they think a hospital is like some kind of silver service 1 staff for 1 customer type of establishment. Unless you are dying, hospitals are all about waiting. And waiting your turn.

We were finally given the ok to go home around 1400, and given discharge papers, a script and home care directives. Furthermore, the nurse on duty stopped Mrs Danman, Miss Danman and I from going home so she could finish with a patient and then gave us some gastrolyte drink, gastrolyte icy poles and some regular icy poles, totally non protocol, but none the less a very nice gesture, saving us some money at the chemist later that day.

In all, we were in attendance for around 7 hours.

Sure, it was long, and boring, as hospitals mostly are, but we had great nurses and would just like to say thank you, and that we appreciate the thankless job they do.

No one really notes when they do a great job, finding it easier to complain about not having their cough addressed before a serious road trauma.

So if you’re reading this and an ER staffer that was on duty Sunday, thank you, your efforts do not go un-noticed by all.

What’s Your opinion?


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22 Responses to
Anti Rant – The Canberra Hospital ER
Overheard 9:29 pm 31 May 11

Not questioning the central message.

The emergency people do a great job under challenging conditions.

Jethro 7:32 pm 31 May 11

+infinity

Like other people on the front line of the public service nurses and other hospital staff do a fantastic job under often difficult circumstances. Great to see it being recognised.

s-s-a 7:17 pm 31 May 11

As to how long we sat in the waiting area, that really is irrelevant, as it would not change the outcome or satisfaction

No, but it would set the scene somewhat. Spending 2h in the waiting area and 5h in the ED is a completely different experience than 5h in the waiting area and 2h in the ED.

I “spent 7 hours” at TCH relatively recently with a paeds head injury that Health Direct told me should be seen by a doctor within 4h. When we did see the doctor after 6h he checked her over and sent us home since “she needs to be under observation for at least 6h, but you’ve done that now”.

Agreed it was the same outcome as if we spent 1h waiting and 6h in the ED, however much of the addional 5h in the waiting room was spent with a sleeping child too big for my lap, who was waking to spew at regular intervals. I alerted triage when the vomiting started (about 3h after a knock to the head) and triage checked her over again so was not alarmed at her condition, nor am I blaming the nurses for the wait time.

Had a family member spend over 36h in the ED a few years back (non paeds) and I know the staff do the best they can all things considered. That was a bed-blocking issue elsewhere in the hospital. Generally my experience has been that the looooong waits are mainly due to number of doctors available, sometimes beds too.

Danman 5:58 pm 31 May 11

I think that the being pedantic in the comments has really gotten away from the intended spirit of this post, as it was my point to highlight the thankless jobs that the ER staff do. Concentrating on correcting my terminology just makes it clear that people are not concentrating on the message I have, rather the words that comprise it. And just to clarify, we were in and out in 7 hours, as it was 2 when we got tur word we will be going. It still took time to get a doctor to write a script and letter for our GP. As to how long we sat in the waiting area, that really is irrelevant, as it would not change the outcome or satisfaction. And to avoid speculation, Mrs Danman is a nurse, but we did not know any nurses staffing the ER/ED/A&E (or your chosen generic term) that day.

s-s-a 1:55 pm 31 May 11

We sat down and waited and were eventually taken to the pediatric ER ward.

Care to define the time period that equates to “eventually” in this case?

qbngeek 1:21 pm 31 May 11

shadow boxer said :

Surely there must be a better system so people with the flu aren’t being treated in the Emergency room.

Does the walk in centre not open on Sunday ?

Since we are all being so pedantic, the Royal Childrens Hospital recommends that you seek medical attention if your child has a fever over 40 degrees celcius. Most GPs will tell you to go to the hospital in this case.

Queen_of_the_Bun 12:52 pm 31 May 11

Great story. But if we are being pedantic, 0800 to 1400 is six hours, not seven.
Nice work on the icy poles!

Jane Proxy 12:40 pm 31 May 11

Pedantry, hey? If we’re going that way, at TCH it’s the Emergency Department.

shadow boxer said :

Surely there must be a better system so people with the flu aren’t being treated in the Emergency room.

Does the walk in centre not open on Sunday ?

You’re discounting the possibility that people intentionally go to the ED to be treated for their minor ailments, despite having other options. It could be that the other options aren’t seen as viable, or that the person doesn’t realise the ailment is minor. It could also be that the presentation is a misguided GP referral, or that the person presenting feels entitled to treatment by an Emergency Physician regardless of the nature of the complaint.

The Frots 12:00 pm 31 May 11

fgzk said :

“So if you’re reading this and an ER staffer that was on duty Sunday, thank you, your efforts do not go un-noticed by all.”

To all those on duty early Saturday morning, thank you.

To the brawling drunks covered in blood and talking loudly because “There only bogans here”, GET STUFFED.

Love it!

shadow boxer 11:46 am 31 May 11

Surely there must be a better system so people with the flu aren’t being treated in the Emergency room.

Does the walk in centre not open on Sunday ?

ConanOfCooma 11:25 am 31 May 11

Top story. A lot of people don’t comprehend the fact that their medical issues usually aren’t that important, and get cranky when they have to wait.

Oh, and if you’re in to pedantics Overheard, ER is not an American TV show, it’s a NORTH American TV show, and every hospital I’ve ever been in calls it the “ER” or “Emergency”.

Overheard 10:55 am 31 May 11

I spent some time working with the staff there last year, and yeah, there’s no way I could work there all the time.

Just a little ‘psssst’, though, Danman. It’s A&E at Canberra Hospital.

‘ER’ is an American TV show!

(Unless they’ve decided to Amercanise themselves sometime in the last 6-8 months.)

fgzk 10:47 am 31 May 11

“So if you’re reading this and an ER staffer that was on duty Sunday, thank you, your efforts do not go un-noticed by all.”

To all those on duty early Saturday morning, thank you.

To the brawling drunks covered in blood and talking loudly because “There only bogans here”, GET STUFFED.

The_Bulldog 10:44 am 31 May 11

+1 Danman. I’ve had the full spectrum of experiences at TCH, but the one common factor has always been the helpfulness and commitment shown by staff in what must be really tough circumstances.

TCH staff – you have my thanks as well.

ACT Health – please listen to your staff and allocate resources accordingly.

The Frots 10:35 am 31 May 11

Firstly, great news that your daughter is okay. It’s a good outcome for you and I think that, as you said, the nursing and medical staff at the hospitals do a fantastic job – they are underpaid, overworked and should have the admiration of the community for what they do. And I really think they do.

Seven hours seems a damn long time though? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the fault of the nurses – but it seems we could do with more staff to reduce these times.

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