Mommy Nurse Wife and 25!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Back Lady

I was shopping the other day and overheard the lady behined the cash register complaining about the ED where I work. Apparently she had come in to the ED twice in the same day, via ambulance, with a cc of back pain--from what I gathered the end result was a muscle strain. The first time they sent her home, she didn't do what they suggested (ice, Ibuprofen, etc) and then returned only to be sent home a second time. Whatever, really, it happens right? People leave unhappy all of the time, part of the job ya know.

But what really bothered me was that she said it was because she didn't have private insurance that we didn't admit her or take her more seriously. When I first started in the ED they told me this was the rationale for triaging a patient prior to registration (well, that and the whole legal issue of letting someone who's really sick sit in the waiting room, that small little detail) but I didn't believe it. I was truly that ignorant to think people actually thought we cared about what sort of insurance they carried. Whoa was I wrong.

It was not appropriate for me to butt in on her conversation, no matter how much I really wanted, and set her straight. I wanted to tell her that we give the same care to everyone, regardless of their race, ethnicity, insurance (or lack thereof), living situation, sexual preference, economical or social status, and attitude towards us. I wanted to tell her that we HAVE to take care of everyone because of the nature of the ED. We can't turn our noses at people, for a majority of them we're their primary health care.

But I said nothing. Maybe that makes me a coward, maybe it was the smart thing to do. I really don't know. One of my co-workers told me her solution to the insurance/prejudice thing. She just tells them,

"I give crappy care no matter what kind of insurance you have."

Now why couldn't I have thought of that??


  • At 8:16 AM, Blogger *the sweetest sin* said…

    Now THAT is a great response. Won't earn any positive feedback from the patients who get that response, but it would be fun just to see the look on their faces.

  • At 2:51 AM, Blogger Dan said…

    With the nature of the ED being "serve all, no matter what," I get angry at our surgeons sometimes. I will hear them say to their collegues who want to consult them "Do they have insurance? No? Then call the Staff Surgeon." I don't think it is right for them to flat out refuse a patient, but I do understand from their point of view. They do not want to give a freebie the next patient who has a hot appy in the ED. Unfortunatly, they have a choice, and the ED staff does not.


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