So, the other night I was covering the charge nurse while she went on break and was covering our small asthma area as well.
I got a call from our contact in the admitting office. Ms. So-And-So, the sister of someone who works in a clerical area, was out in triage; could I do anything to bring her back sooner? Hmph.
I walked out to triage. Our triage nurse had about 12 people still to do and was working as fast as she could. I looked through the triage slips and found the paper that Ms. So-And-So filled out when she came in. It read, “bump at bottom of spine hurts to sit or stand.” Uh, yeah. Pilonidal cyst, anyone? I decided against bumping her to the top of the line; there were definitely sicker people waiting. And I was definitely NOT bringing her inside; there were already a lot of people waiting to be seen in the main ER.
On my way back, I mentioned to the ambulance triage nurse that I hated when people tried to get special favors for their relatives because they work in the hospital, especially when the relative is not that ill and really shouldn’t be in the ED at all.
Then, the security guard at the ambulance ramp comes running up, saying that there’s a car on the ramp, and the driver, a woman, is screaming that her father is dying in the backseat. Of course, I grab a stretcher and start running to the ramp; one of the MDs follows. The patient is a middle-aged man. He’s bent over in the backseat, crying and vomiting, unable to sit up straight. He complains of a sudden onset of right flank pain that is the worst thing he’s ever felt. No history of kidney stones, but had slight abdominal pain and pinkish urine this afternoon, and had planned to go to his PMD the next day to get it checked out. He’s panting, diaphoretic, pale, and in the classic kidney-stone crouch. Typical renal colic. I stick him, get bloods, put in an IV, and give him 30 mg of Toradol. Then I take him to the ambulance triage nurse to be triaged.
She actually glared and me and sucked her teeth. “You know, this is the same thing,” she says.
“Just because someone comes up the ambulance ramp doesn’t mean they deserve to be in the ER. You putting this guy in a bed is just as bad as bringing someone back from out front because they are a relative of someone.”
Again, uh, WHAT?!? Seriously. I think she was just pissed I made her get off her duff and triage someone, instead of sitting there and drinking coffee.
Just to be clear: This man was WAAAAAY more acutely ill than some lady with an ass-bump. I wouldn’t have left him outside EITHER.
Then again, I should remember where this nurse is coming from: This is the person who brought back a lady whose main complaint was: “Poured rubbing alcohol in left ear TWO DAYS AGO and now it is burning.”