Reading the Republican response to healthcare, the common response is everyone has healthcare now; it's called the ER. I doubt that many of them have intersected with this seventh circle of hell. If they had, I don't think that they would look at the world through that kaleidoscope of craziness anymore. Please dip a toe into the ER world with me.
Yesterday I get a call from my 77 year old mom. She was going to the hospital with a potential stroke.
She has congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, & degenerative disc disease. She says she hadn't been feeling well, & went to the doctor. Her doctor was away, so another MD from the practice "saw" her. I think that's all he did. See all her problems, not her. Didn't pull her chart based on the printout he gave her to take with her, since most of the information from his H & P were incorrect. However, he did manage to get a BP which was in the 240 over the hell no range. Fearing that she would occupy his day with a stroke, he shoved her to the ER, telling my 85 year old dad to drive her there.
The doctor did not alert the ER. He did not send her via ambulance. My sister arrived there pretty much when they did @ about 4 pm. I got there about 6 pm with my husband, who is an attending oral surgeon at this hospital, & his partner is chief of their service. They had taken her BP, pulse & did a cognitive exam. That was it. She was still sitting. So were about 50 others. They were bleeding on the floor. Vomiting into basins. Wrapped in blankets in wheelchairs. No seats were left. We stood. There was not a sole to even ask what was the timeline, as shift change started even before the 7 to 11 shift came on board. If she was a stroke patient, the window for medical intervention all but closed.
Finally, a ER tech came around to check her pulse. My mom grabbed her papers from the doctor, slowly made her way out of the wheelchair they put her in, & tried to get someone's attention. She managed to get a nurse to step out, & that's when my husband offered to take her back & sign for the lab & CAT scan himself.
What do you know? A bed finally opened up in the ER triage section. As we walked through the hallway, we passed people on gurneys in various stages of distress. One woman was moaning & was uncovered allowing her breasts to be seen by everyone. No dignity for her! Cops were by another gurney. Basins were next to people sitting by their unconscious loved one on the gurney next to them.
We finally get her evaluated, although there was no care integration, as one nurse did the EKG, took her blood for a panel, & started an IV. The next nurse came in & stated she was going to get all those things started, only to be told by us she was just a minute late on getting that done. Did they do a finger stick to see her blood sugar? Nope. They didn't give her medication to decrease her pressure until 9:00pm. We left about 10pm. My sister & brother in law stayed til the test results came back & then left since we were all under the impression they were going to admit her for observation
She was discharged after all tests came back negative. This was 11:30pm. I found out from my mom that they wheeled her to the entrance, & left her sitting there alone until my dad got the car & drove up. Even worse, this morning my mom casually tells me they left the IV port in her arm. She & my dad took it out themselves, saying well it spurted a little but the bleeding stopped now. Of course the aspirin she takes daily for her afib didn't help the bleeding.
We are educated people. My sister & brother in law are both lawyers. My husband is an Oral Surgeon. My dad & I are both pharmacists. We know the system. We still got trapped in the spider web of healthcare in this country today. The other ones in the ER that night? For all I know they are still trying to escape before the spider comes for them.