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What happened during an emergency room visit

Emergency room
Emergency room
Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images

The day began like any other day. He woke up, took the train into Center City Philadelphia, arrived at work on time, etc. Lunch came and he went to the Bourse to grab a bite to eat.

As he was heading back to work and walking through the park past the Liberty Bell, he started to feel a little uncomfortable. Something wasn’t right. He scurried into his building and up the elevator on a mission to the men’s room passing one of his colleagues. She could tell something was wrong and let his boss know.

The familiar pain was now recognizable. It was a kidney stone attack. His boss arrived and proceeded to call his doctor. The advice was to go to the emergency room.

The ambulance came and off they went to the emergency room. It was a little before 2 p.m. Once there, they waited, and waited. It was endless. Unable to sit and get comfortable, he paced around the room in severe pain making several trips to the receptionist asking to see a doctor. It was to no avail.

At one point he was in such severe pain that he almost vomited. He fell onto the emergency room floor, eyes were rolling into the back of his head. The male attendant came over to him and grabbed him, plopped him into a chair, and told him not to do that “in my emergency room”. The pain continued on without treatment from 2 p.m. to approximately 5:30 p.m.

Around 6 p.m., his girlfriend and brother arrived. The receptionist would not let them go back. She said there is already one person with him. They called and texted to let his boss know that they had arrived and he came out. Now the receptionist said that only one of them could go back. Eventually they were able to both slip into the emergency room treatment area. This is where the fiasco begins

There he was. Sitting on a bed along a wall in the hallway next to the employee lunch room. At this point, the pain has subsided. He looks fine, but worn. At least he got back into the treatment area, but to be sitting out in the open in a hallway.

A little after 7 p.m. the doctor comes over and he asks for a drink of water. The doctor says, I ordered an IV and a urine test. No one had come over to him and nothing been done since we arrived shortly after 6 p.m. How long ago were the IV and urine test ordered?

Shortly after the nurse finally sets up the IV and requests the urine sample, he is taken up for an ultrasound. The transportation guy says he’ll be back with him in 10 minutes. Time passes 10, 20, 30, 40 minutes. We text and find out that he has been left in the hallway as it was shift change at 8 p.m. The guy that took him up was done for the day. He was abandoned, sitting in the hallway waiting for someone to bring him back down to the emergency room treatment area. At one point, his doctor came over and asked where he was. He was going to look for him after handling something, but finally he was brought back to us. He had been left abandoned in a hallway for around 40 – 50 minutes.

This is the state of our healthcare system. Patients sitting in emergency rooms for hours without treatment, some in excruciating pain. Treatment being ordered and hour(s) passing before it being administered. Patients being left in hallways as shifts change. Patients not even being afforded the privacy of a curtain, left in the open in the treatment area of one of the top hospitals in Center City. Something needs to change.

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