My Apologies…But…

This past week my wife fell and broke her arm, and as a consequence of that fall I have seen entirely too much of the emergency room of the new billion-dollar Palomar hospital.

The lesson I have learned from two visits this past week is that if you have an emergency, call 911, do not walk into the emergency room with someone and expect to get any kind of care, with any rapidity.

When the paramedics took my wife it was a really interesting, fast operation and everything ran like clockwork.

When two days later, on a Friday night, I decided to take my wife in because she was in severe hip pain I thought I would not bother the paramedics this time. In the first trip my wife’s fall could have easily been a problem with a head injury, so I thought it necessary to use the paramedics.

It was 10:30 at night and my wife was not going to die from whatever problem with hip pain, but it was possible that she had cracked a hip in the initial fall.

So I drove my wife to the hospital and the emergency room. Big mistake.

The emergency room was absolutely filled with people, Because of the possibility of a broken hip they did do a an x-ray very quickly and then we went back out to sit

I came into the hospital at about 11 PM, and they finished the x-ray by midnight. And then we sat until 3 AM, when someone called my wife’s name and we went Into a private room. When I asked the lady when we could expect to see a doctor, she said “I’m sorry, I don’t know the answer to that. I’m just taking the registration information.”

My wife had been saying for about an hour and a half that it was really time to go home, and she was still in pain but whatever the problem watch it didn’t look like we get anything done. There were many people who had been there a lot longer than we.

We went up to the front desk and asked to have the nurse there for a release. She said no she was really sorry, that they were just very busy that night indeed they were but there were people of been there longer than the four hours we were there, who were laying under blankets shivering with whatever. They were not getting any care either, so I wheeled my wife out to the curb, drove up a car, and we went home.

Many years ago the Washington Redskins, a fine American football team owned by attorney William Bennett, fired the best coach in the league – one George Allen.

When asked why he had fired Allen, Bennett replied: I gave him an unlimited budget, and he exceeded it!”

Similarly, I have unlimited patience, and the hospital exceeded it.

So the lesson is, if you have an emergency sufficient needy to go to the emergency room of Palomar hospital, call 911 and have the paramedics take you to the emergency room because people brought in by the paramedics get very fast service.

The new hospital is beautiful. The Doctors and Nurses are excellent. The facility is state of the art and looks like it cost a billion dollars, which it did.

But it can be overrun at any given time. The Emergency Room is still the place where many people go for free primary care, and Escondido has a large low income population.