In Praise of Canberra Hospital’s Emergency Department (yes … praise)

deezagood 24 June 2009 37

Emergency Departments are depressing places at the best of times and last Sunday night was no exception. We arrived in the early evening and the place was, as always, heaving with people. There were angry people, abusive people, really sick people, injured people, drunk/high people, resigned people and those people that always seem to cluster right at the entrance of the ED, smoking themselves to better health.

My seven year old daughter had badly cut her wrist on a piece glass and was bleeding quite profusly – we needed urgent medical attention (fending off the anticipated accusations of bad mothering, she broke the glass while unloading the dishwasher, under supervision, and these are our first stitches in eight years of parenthood).

Admittedly, our ER visit didn’t get off to a great start, as we had to wait 15 minutes just to get our names on the list and be seen to by the triage nurse (yes, they were that busy). However, once we were seen, our experience was excellent. The poor, much-harangued staff were just lovely to my daughter and they patched her up while we waited to see a doctor for stitches. Given the number of people in the waiting room, they seemed to move through the patients pretty quickly, and in only a few hours we were seen by an absolutely lovely doctor who could not have been more gentle and kind to my terrified little girl.

But this isn’t what made our visit worthy of praise. As I was driving home from the hospital, a staff member called me to report that we had left without picking up the ‘Bravery Award’ that they must give to all of the kids who have procedures. I just wanted to get my daughter home, so I told the staff not to worry about it. Imagine my surprise when the certificate turned up in our mail yesterday, with a short note from the hospital staff. My daughter was thrilled to bits and I think that sending us the certificate was a really lovely thing for the staff to do, especially given their constant workload.

So – high praise to the Canberra Hospital’s ED admin staff – your little bit of extra effort made my little girl’s day. I also think it is great to see McDonalds, AMF Bowling and Luna Park sponsoring the award with their vouchers too. Now, if we could only get more staffing to support those lovely, hard-working ED staff ….

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37 Responses to In Praise of Canberra Hospital’s Emergency Department (yes … praise)
Nosey Nosey 2:42 pm 24 Jun 09

Nice story.

I took my sick daughter to the Calvary ED last year and the staff were fantastic.

Keep it up guys.

Hey Stanhope(less). Give them a pay rise not yourself, they deserve it.

justbands justbands 2:44 pm 24 Jun 09

I’ve had a few dealings with them over the past 10 or 12 years…a couple as the patient myself & several times with our son (asthma when he was little mostly). I’ve got nothing but praise for them….each & every time we’ve received professional care in a timely manner.

ant ant 3:30 pm 24 Jun 09

It’s amazing the rubbish those people have to deal with, adn yet they do. People at the front line of any service organisation do amazing things daily.

A useful way of managing that injury would have been an ice pack in a towel to reduce bleeding and swelling (while holding the wound shut), and then stick the would up with surgi-strips. However, with a wrist or anywhere around that region, a deep cut shoudl be looked-at by a medical person as nerve damage is very easy there.

deezagood deezagood 3:42 pm 24 Jun 09

I applied the world’s best pressure bangage Ant, using my husband’s long socks and a pin! Primitive, but worked a treat (and yes, I am re-stocking the first aid kit with proper bandages and surgi-strips). Needed stitches though, as deep and in an awkward spot.

Thumper Thumper 3:55 pm 24 Jun 09

Cut up cotton sheets are very good.

Secret Squirrel Secret Squirrel 4:00 pm 24 Jun 09

Hey, I took my son to Woden Hospital last week for a head injury and HE didn’t get a bravery award!!!

deezagood deezagood 4:01 pm 24 Jun 09

No time for sheet cutting Thumper – too busy stopping the blood flow with one hand and wrangling socks with the other, whilst finding slippers and dressing gowns for the hospital dash (and trying not to faint/panic/freak out).

deezagood deezagood 4:02 pm 24 Jun 09

Secret Squirrel said :

Hey, I took my son to Woden Hospital last week for a head injury and HE didn’t get a bravery award!!!

Yeah – this was our first too – I think they only give them out if the kids have an actual procedure like stitches. I’m sure your son was very brave 🙂

Hells_Bells74 Hells_Bells74 4:40 pm 24 Jun 09

I love the addition of the Triage nurse at ED’s. Get in there so quick and most of the time we can go home after seeing them.

Praise for Calvary ED too except having no paed’s there (correct me if they do now).

I have used the odd clean sock myself in emergencies, they’ve got a good stretch and do the job as is without fuss.

rosebud rosebud 4:41 pm 24 Jun 09

After a few hours…a few HOURS!! A few hours is too long and too much for a heavily bleeding 8 year old child. I would have been LIVID.

DJ DJ 4:43 pm 24 Jun 09

rosebud said :

After a few hours…a few HOURS!! A few hours is too long and too much for a heavily bleeding 8 year old child. I would have been LIVID.

Obviously you are one of those that service providers can’t do enough for… Look up ‘triage’

rosebud rosebud 5:14 pm 24 Jun 09

This isn’t an episode of MASH. We live in a first world country where we should be able to expect first world medical treatment.

captainwhorebags captainwhorebags 5:19 pm 24 Jun 09

rosebud: the child left the hospital healthy and happy. Parents left the hospital happy.
Family didn’t have to pay a cent.

Doesn’t sound like Zimbabwe to me.

deezagood deezagood 5:22 pm 24 Jun 09

rosebud said :

After a few hours…a few HOURS!! A few hours is too long and too much for a heavily bleeding 8 year old child. I would have been LIVID.

The triage nurse made sure she was cleaned up, had stopped most of the bleeding and her wrist was nicely bandaged up while we waited. I did such a great job with my innovative sock-bandage that the bleeding had slowed right down by the time we saw the nurse. I was actually delighted by the relatively short wait (which was only about 90 minutes after triage), especially as the waiting room had so many people when we arrived. I told my husband not to expect me home before midnight! There were patients with higher needs than ours, and I totally accept that.

deezagood deezagood 5:24 pm 24 Jun 09

Rosebud, I am absolutely sure that if she had still been bleeding heavily in triage, we would have seen a doctor immediately. The staff were just wonderful.

rosebud rosebud 5:31 pm 24 Jun 09

Oh! 🙂

cranky cranky 5:35 pm 24 Jun 09

That members of our LA would ever go home with the same feeling of accomplishment as the ED staff.

Go, you wonderful people!

threepaws threepaws 6:13 pm 24 Jun 09

Great story, and what a great idea with the bravery awards!

I once spent 14 – yes fourteen – hours in ED with an ankle sprained badly enough to need xrays on a Sunday, and I have nothing but praise for the staff in the ED.

Obviously my injury was waaaaaaaay down the list, but the staff were very apologetic and attentive, making sure I was comfortable and keeping me updated on my expected wait.

I witnessed a number of emergencies arriving via the front doors or via ambulance and the calm manner and professionalism shown by the staff was truly amazing. Their job truly sucks.

For me, it was a 14 hour lesson on not getting worked up about the little things!

barking toad barking toad 6:46 pm 24 Jun 09

Good post Deeza.

ED usually just cops totally undeserved brickbats, not enough bouquets.

Thumper Thumper 6:53 pm 24 Jun 09

I once broke my wrist but after four hours in Cas gave up and went home 😉 Got it fixed another day.

But this is not a reflection of the satff who do a great job.

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