What's the longest er wait time you have Even seen - page 4

by Trekfan 17,832 Views | 76 Comments

One big hospital here has been packed many times this is the one I waited 23 hours in the er for a room once . I was told at that time they had a 20 hour wait that day ! I was sick last week and went back to this same one and... Read More


  1. 0
    Patients can wait for an ER bed for up to 15-18 hours at my hospital on busy days. It can easily reach 24 hours before they are admitted. On a "Good" day, our wait is betwen 4 and 8 hours. We are crowded!
  2. 2
    It always appears we are running a mini cardiology (NSTEMI) clinic with a full department (not a free stretcher) when the waiting room is full of impatient people with ingrown toenails, calluses and sore throats....frankly you will rot out there unless you are dying or unstable its an emergency department people!
    Zookeeper3 and badmamajama like this.
  3. 0
    In the last hospital I worked 8 hours wasn't unusual to sit in the waiting room. For admitted pt, 3 days in the ED and for one particular psych pt, 5 days in the ER.
  4. 0
    Compared to 23 hours, I once waited 7 hours to be seen because of a sycopal episode that mimmicked a seizure. On top of that, the Cab company never showed up to pick me up after waiting in the freezing cold for an hour...thank God I was over the Pneumonia by that time. So after the little jerk of a security guard came over and told me I couldn't smoke where I was standing, I walked about 10 blocks home. I was so upset by the whole episode, I called the local mental health center just to vent. Needless to say, I will never go to that hospital EVER again.
    Last edit by TheCommuter on Jan 31, '12 : Reason: language
  5. 4
    trekfan,
    the triage nurse assesses each patient and decides who needs to be seen first. Although someone may appear healthy or sick to you the nurse may have found something different after triaging them. Please trust their judgement Also if many sick people are in the waiting room waiting to be seen that usually means that even sicker people are inside the department.
    Zookeeper3, wcocch, BrnEyedGirl, and 1 other like this.
  6. 0
    I work in a 50 bed ER, one of only two in our area. We often have 4-6 hr waits in the waiting room, occasionally much longer. Our wait for admits to actually get upstairs to a bed is often 12 hrs +, which of course slows down the whole department! If we have 10 people waiting for in-patient beds, that's 10 less beds and the nurses caring for them, NOT available to see ER patients!

    I agree with previous posters in that people seem to have forgotten what the ER is for,..EMERGENCIES, injuries or illnesses that immediately threaten life or limb! From triage, the sickest pts are always seen first, and this may change depending on who is in the department! I may have a kidney stone and a possible pneumonia ready to go back next, then suddenly we get three Class I traumas and 2 MI's that show up by EMS,..everyone waits!

    We do have protocols that we can start from the waiting room to get labs and Xray started,..no meds other than tylenol/ibuprofen. This works well if we have the resources to start these protocols! I have often had angry parents state that they could have given Ibuprofen at home,...it's very hard not to say "yes, why didn't you?" I realize that when you or your child are ill and feel miserable you want it fixed and fixed now,..but in theory, if your not actively dying, you might sit in the waiting room forever! I'm sure that all the people yelling and swearing about the wait would not want us to take back the 22 yr old "flu like Sx" over the 63 yr old CP if it was their Grandmother!
  7. 3
    Before nursing school I was an ED tech for two years. At that time I was often put up front to be the Triage tech. I was the first person you saw when you got passed the metal detectors. My job was to get the chief complaint, demographics, put on the armband of the patient, and if necessary let the triage nurse know if there was someone that needed to be seen in a hurry, for example chest pain, active bleeding, GSW to the head (true story), etc. I heard everything, was called every name in the book, and yes saw wait times that were pretty outrageous. I once had a 2yr old boy brought in by his parents who had an obvious fracture; and by obvious I mean severe deformity. (kids don't normally have two elbows.) This poor kid waited for two hours to be seen. The frustrated triage nurse could only say "as long as he has a pulse and is breathing he is fine." What I knew yet couldn't tell these (understandably)infuriated parents was that we had two active codes going on in the back, and countless patients who needed ICU level care for their strokes, respiratory illnesses, etc. All this they couldn't see. In the lobby where they waited they saw people muching Doritos and leisurely watching Montel on the TV's. Another time I had a 40-something man check in c/o abd pain a little while before I got off shift. The next day when I came in, fourteen hours after he checked in, he was still there. He was not just complaining anymore, he was on the floor in the fetal position. When I saw him I decided to check on him because it had been so long and he began vomiting lovely coffee-ground emesis. That was his ticket to the front of the line, otherwise he would have been there for a while longer. Again, the back was unusually chaotic at that time.

    Like Larry said, if you have only been to the ED as a patient then it may be hard to understand why the waits are insane. You can't imagine what is going on in the back just by looking at the lobby. If it seems like a crowded bus terminal in the front you can bet it's a cage fight in the back. Oh and the guy that just walked in who looks seemingly okay may have just told me he has fantasies about killing his whole family and wants help. Or he could have told me he is having chest pains and actually is is having an MI right there in the lobby. You never know what is going to come in that door.

    What p***es me off to no end are the people that come in, say they've had a stomach ache for three hours, start chowing on vending machine food while they wait, despite me instructing them not to eat, then after waiting for three hours they call 911 from their cell phone in the lobby, making EMS have to come evaluate them. True story. In my county EMS is authorized to advise patients transport is not indicated in some cases and advise them to find another ride to seek treatment. Abdominal pain is one of the exceptions. All abd pn must be transported so we actually had EMS have to evaluate this girl, put her in the ambulance, and drive around the parking lot to the ambulance bay where they marched her through the back and down the hall to the triage desk where they were instructed to take her by the charge nurse. I was the one with the privelidge of telling her she had to be triaged again and the whole process started over since she signed out AMA before. This was technically a new visit. What kept the smile off my face when I told her was the knowledge that she would never pay for any of this.


    T
    Zookeeper3, GM2RN, and Altra like this.
  8. 0
    Mondays are probably our biggest wait times of 2-3 hrs at times. That's when we have every room filled, 4 hallway beds filled and still 11 people in the waiting room and maybe 6 of those in beds waiting to be admitted.
  9. 1
    I am an ED nurse and I see wait times anywhere between 1-2 hrs on a not-busy day to around 4-6hrs (to see a RN, not a doctor- about a 2-3 hr triage time). Our hospital is crazy busy, and there simply isn't enough rooms at the inn for everyone. I've seen patients being held in the ED for days- yes, DAYS- waiting for a bed.

    Also, not everyone who thinks they need a bed really does.

    I read the post about the woman who miscarried, and often I see the exact same case in my ED. A woman, PV bleed and known early weeks preg, abdo pain, etc. The truth is as long as they are & remain hemodynamically stable (we reassess), there's not a heck of a lot that can be changed about their situation if they were to be seen ASAP vs in 1 hr. I do feel bad for the women who miscarry and come in crying, knowing, or fearing the worst- but my hands are tied when I have 1 bed, they are stable (or more stable) compared to an MI or hot stroke.

    Yes, bleeding and being in pain is not fun. But neither is being yelled at, cursed at, spat at, threatened, etc when all you're trying to do is prioritize patients based on acuity.

    And last of all..... having chest pain does not mean you are sicker then someone else. I wish people would understand this. Chest pain can be a lot of things and when first investigated should be ruled out as being cardiac in origin. If your chest pain is cardiac in origin, and something acute is actually happening, believe me you will be seen quicker.

    I tell patients to feel free to use 911 services or come to the ED if they think it's a true emergency. But then I follow that up by saying if it's not a true emergency, be prepared for a bit of a wait, because an ambulance ride does not ensure you get bumped to the front of the line. If they can see their GP/a walk in, to do so.
    Zookeeper3 likes this.
  10. 0
    Well I have had a couple 12 hour waits but I didn't mind because it wasn't a life threatening emergency. I still needed to be seen ( broken bone) but I understood that others were in need of more immediate attention.

    The only time I was mad/upset about an ER wait was after an MVA. I was 35 weeks pregnant, taken to the hospital via ambulance, contracting every 2 minutes and instead of going straight to OB to assess my baby, I waited 3 hours in the ER to be seen for my injuries and then they sent me upstairs.

    I figured MVA+ambulance+baby not moving = immediate attention but I guess not.


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