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Bad experience - is this typical?

Emergency   (18,257 Views 80 Comments)
by keikei keikei (Member)

keikei specializes in public health.

1,009 Visitors; 28 Posts

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Hello all-I found your site while doing a search for standard of care in the ER. I'm going to be the first to say, the only nursing experience I have is as a patient as I have just been accepted to a program. I will introduce myself more later, but currently typing this with one hand do to surgery yesterday (which is how I found this site)

Anyway, on Sunday I was getting ready to make dinner & handed my husband a sharp knife by handing it handle out. You can probably guess what happened next. I wanted to wait & see since I'm not one to head to the ER unless I think I need to go by medic. But this time, I knew the cut on my index finger was DEEP (arterial blood was squirting out). We have several major hospitals near us, we chose the closest because the bleeding was so heavy (soaked 3 bath towels in 15 mins)

So we arrive at the ER, lots of blood, taken immediately to a room, BP check and questioned by a few different people (a nurse and some others, not sure what they were, never saw them again). Nurse hands me a gauze pad and tells me to hold my hand over my head and keep the pressure on it. She goes over my medical history and then leaves. The clerk comes in to collect my $150 copay. About 20 mins have now passed with me spurting blood & everyone that comes into the room saying "wow, you're making a mess". 30 mins, doc comes in, pours saline on the cut and say "holy crap, we need a hand surgeon, I'm not touching that" and leaves, saying he will go page one. Now we've been there an hour, I've soaked my entire sheet, gown (they removed my shirt). I'm doing the best I can to keep my arm above my head and hold pressure, but I'm feeling sick, clammy and very dizzy. A radiology tech comes and when I get to the xray area, she tells me to take the pressure off and remove the gauze pad. I warn her I am bleeding a lot she says "I have to xray without the pad" so I remove it and blood immediately sprays all over the room. her clothes, etc. She gets upset, takes the xray while yelling at the other tech that "she made a huge mess, ugh I guess I will clean it up"

Then she wheels me back to the exam room. The ER is practically empty except for me, another guy who cut his hand and a teen with a sore throat, an ENORMOUS woman who wants pain meds because her knees & hips hurt and a bunch of toddlers crying and screaming (they are there with the "sick" people who bring the entire family) The nurse ONLY comes to check on me when my husband, who sees the large pile of bloody towels and then she finally says "I guess you want something for pain" to which I say "No, I want to stop bleeding!!". She sends in an aide who can only say "no, must keep pressure" and grabs my injured hand trying to twist it to put a new gauze bad, more blood squirts on HIM and he ends up scraping my leg with something in his pocket (leaving a 16cm cut on my thigh) and I yell in pain & he runs out of the room. Noone comes to check

Now we have been there for 3.5 hours and the bleeding has not stopped, even with pressure & holding it above my head (I can't do it forever I am getting weak). I feel like I'm going to pass out, I'm very thirsty and the nurse comes in with a percocet & a cup of water. My husband asks how much longer & what are we waiting on. She says "Oh, they're just working through the others (sore throat, hip/knee pain and other cut finger - they are treated first because they are there first, she says. He says "even with all of this bleeding?" and she shrugs, checks my BP again (which has dropped to 85/56 from 142/90 when I arrived) and leaves. My husband goes back out to the desk & is told they took the OTHER guy to surgery so it'll probably be 12+ hours longer wait for me. A physcian's assistant overhears and says "I'll sew her up but you need to have a surgeon come check her first" So I've gone from emergency, to ignored, to a dr afraid to sew me up because it's too deep to a PA saying she will do it.

My husband finds someone else who pages the surgeon, who leaves surgery to come check me. He asks how long I've been bleeding like that and everyone makes excuses. He VERY annoyed. He checks my cut & says "you've cut an artery, a bunch of nerves and the tendon, you have to have surgery but I'm in the middle of sewing the other guys thumb on, you should have been first!" and gives me a nerve block and instructs the PA how to put loose sutures in and tells me to be in his office at 8 the next morning (Monday), I'm immediately booked for surgery which has been done.

Is this the standard of care for an emergency? Should I have gone to urgent care instead? We went to the ER because it was 5 pm on Sunday and everyone else was closed. I thought bleeding like that IS an emergency, not a sore throat or something. I feel really traumatized. I was in HORRIBLE pain the entire 5 hours we were there, the surgeon said I lost A LOT of blood (the only way he knows is because I just had a CBC a week ago at a checkup and I guess he is able to figure it out from the blood he took from me?) He is SO upset that I wasn't given any pain med to take home, no IV, no blanket and wasn't kept warm with the blood loss, no antibiotics, nothing in the ER) The surgery took nearly 4 hours to repair because it was such a mess. I feel REALLY terrible and sudden lost my hearing in my left ear when I felt like I was fainting (and did lose conciousness for 2-3 mins until the PA came in and flicked me or something, it is all a nightmare to me.

I don't want to be a nurse if this is the standard of care (which I am pretty sure it is not, I have been in other ER's for bleeding kidney cyst and was cared for VERY well in the ER and as an inpatient, this was a different hospital, a foofy suburban hospital. I am still feeling a sense of shock over all that happend :crying2:

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3,764 Visitors; 54 Posts

Wow..that is HORRIBLE..I am just a student but I am still very sorry but I am eager to read the responses.

Rebecca

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7,584 Visitors; 266 Posts

This is not the standard of care, I know this and I am not an ER nurse, you are admited to the ER and seen based on acuity NOT first come first serve. Come on, thats common sense. I am so sorry you had to go through this terrible ordeal. My only advise is to write a letter to the hospital administration and explain the whole ordeal in detail as you did here. Dont give up your nursing goals because of this experience, in a few years You can be that ER nurse caring for the patient, and you can be the one who brings change. I have learned from previous experiences being a patient what kind of nurse I DONT want to be. Good luck:)

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3,703 Visitors; 122 Posts

Wow, just wow is all I can say. The person that took your BP that saw you were hypotensive did not say anything to you? Was that person a nurse? No shock precautions taken? NO, this should not have happened. But, wanted to say this. There is no way to REALLY know all that is going at the ED at the time you are there, so there may very well been more critical patients. Still that does not excuse what happened to you.

I hope you heal quickly!

Jenn

Edited by PinkRocksLikeMe
Adding thought

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Orange Tree specializes in Medical Surgical Orthopedic.

13,459 Visitors; 728 Posts

You certainly needed attention, but your finger was cut as opposed to your throat being cut from ear to ear. And your perception may have been a little off regarding the other patients' needs. How could you know for certain that your own needs were greater?

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1,742 Visitors; 80 Posts

You certainly needed attention, but your finger was cut as opposed to your throat being cut from ear to ear. And your perception may have been a little off regarding the other patients' needs. How could you know for certain that your own needs were greater?

She was still bleeding out! And the surgeon himself said she should have been a higher priority than the guy they sent to him first. Obviously she doesn't know that exact needs of everyone else who may have been there but she still should have been treated and not allowed to just sit around bleeding to the point of losing consciousness.

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keikei specializes in public health.

1,009 Visitors; 28 Posts

The only reason I know what was going on (what other patients where there and why) is because my husband kept going out to remind them I was bleeding A LOT and ALL of the nurses on duty were standing around a computer looking up people on Facebook & laughing and acted really annoyed when he kept telling them I was bleeding, felt really sick, blood was dripping despite pressure, etc. I was also in a room where I could see anyone coming in from the waiting room and the bay where the medics came in. Only one squad came in the entire night & it was right before I was discharged.

The shift changed while I was there and a head nurse came in, we could hear her YELLING at everyone in duty about triage, why is there a bleeder in room 14 for five hours (that was me), that sore throats & back pain go last, etc. The whole atmospshere changed when she arrived and she apologized profusely when she came to see me, said she was very sorry I had to wait so long, especially on a quiet night like that one. Then she stood outside the door while I was getting dressed (the nurse station was right there) and was talking to what I guess was the staff coming on duty. She ran down the entire list of who was seen & for what the entire time I was there. Me, another cut finger, teen with a sore throat and a woman wanting pain meds for her hurt back & knee pain and the trauma that had just come in. Trust me, I don't go to any ER unless I am desperate and I was desperate. That was the most terrifying feeling in the world, passing out from lack of blood - I thought I was dying and I have children, I just kept picturing their faces when I ran out of the house dripping blood everywhere and promising them I would be fine and then not coming back home because apparently having blood spray out with each heart beat isn't an emergency when put up next to a teenager with a sore throat :(

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NurseLoveJoy88 has 6 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC.

31,702 Visitors; 3,959 Posts

Wow. I'm sorry you experienced such thing. I hope you found yourself a good lawyer. You were bleeding goodness sake !

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keikei specializes in public health.

1,009 Visitors; 28 Posts

Wow, just wow is all I can say. The person that took your BP that saw you were hypotensive did not say anything to you? Was that person a nurse? No shock precautions taken? NO, this should not have happened. But, wanted to say this. There is no way to REALLY know all that is going at the ED at the time you are there, so there may very well been more critical patients. Still that does not excuse what happened to you.

I hope you heal quickly!

Jenn

Thank you - the surgery went well though the surgeon said he couldn't repair the arteries. The nurse who came in when I got there said my BP was a little high, but it was because I was upset from the finger trauma. She only came back one time and that was to give me a percocet tablet that I didn't want to take because if my kidney's and the acetaminophen in it - my only concern was the amount of blood and the fact that it was spraying out. She said "Oh, that's just an artery, you have two in your finger, it looks worse than it really is". When the nurses aide came in, he took my temp & BP and didn't say a word but my husband said "Wow, isn't that kind of low?" and he shrugged his shoulders & walked out. He was the same one that had come in earlier and yank my arm from over my head to take the gauze pad off (I thought that wasn't supposed to happen either because of clotting) and left a long, deep cut on my thigh from something in his pocket.

The surgeon is the person who said I was the most urgent case in the ER that night & that he was VERY upset that he had been given the other patient ahead of me, that I should have been priority. When he left after talking to me, he went over to the nurses station & made some angry looking gestures to them. There were no throat cuts, gun shots or anything else like that. We have 6 large hospitals in our area, two of them are Level I trauma and the one I chose was one of them. I guess we should have taken the extra 5 -10 mins to go to the teaching hospital. Maybe they aren't as fancy but I doubt I would have bled until I nearly passed out and I would still have hearing in BOTH ears right now,

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SilentfadesRPA has 14 years experience and specializes in ER/ MEDICAL ICU / CCU/OB-GYN /CORRECTION.

6,837 Visitors; 240 Posts

What had happened to you is tantamount to neglect. I am sorry that occurred and hope you have totally healed. I along with the above poster think you should send a letter to the administrator and DON. I bet dollars to doughnuts this is not the first time this has occurred and with what you documented someone should be made aware.

Marc

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emtb2rn has 21 years experience as a BSN, RN, EMT-B and specializes in Emergency.

28,576 Visitors; 2,599 Posts

Sorry to hear about your experience. That was absolutely not the standard of care you deserved. Send a letter/email to the hospital with what happened. Sounds like that er needs a shake-up.

Heal fast.

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1,924 Visitors; 51 Posts

"Be the change you wish to see in the world"

This horrible experience should encourage you to be a nurse!

Sorry you had to go through that! Hope you are feeling better.

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