I have not been to the Emergency Room since the beginning of Covid. I readily admit that, in a weird way, I’m lucky that I’m in healthcare and work in a clinic. If need be, I can receive healthcare fairly quickly. Well, for the small stuff. The downside of being in healthcare, of course, is that I have constant potential exposures to Covid. There’s always plusses and minuses to everything.
After two years, I went into an ER. This past week, I accompanied a friend to the Emergency Room and I sat there quietly watching workflows and protocols in action. It was an odd feeling to be there. At times I felt like a Martian who just landed and was sitting back learning about planet Earth. Whay I experienced was hard to stomach at times. It’s not easy being in healthcare at the moment. There’s many “opportunities” for things to go wrong and for fear to permeate the air. And, in an emergency room even moreso.
I will not name the hospital. But here is a bit of what I saw.
Right off the bat, one could see there were different levels of comfort with masks. Some staff did not correctly wear their masks. And one took off his mask for about 30 minutes to talk about his previous evening adventures. How someone would do that so easily in an ER confounds me. At the clin8c, and as a visitor to the ER, I was double-masked.
There’s no doubt thatbin New Uork we are experiencing a rise in crime and a rise in the number of people who need immediate mental health services. As I sat there, many patients came accompanied by police handcuffed to the gurney or their feet shackled. Further, one such patient kept screaming “help” while everyone seemed to ignore that plea. I couldn’t tell if he was just protesting his handcuff situation or he was truly in dire medical distress.
Meanwhile, in terms of biohazards. At the other end of the room, someone vomited onto the floor and housekeeping was not paged for over an hour. Yikes. I was seated right near it and thankfully my n95 mask kept me from smelling it.
What about covid? There were two people who were there to get the PCR test after having tested positive at home. They were allowed to intermingle with everyone else who was there for other reasons such as abdomen pain. It was a bit netwrecking.
I get why people are afraid to go into a healthcare facility. It’s scary out there. Maybe I shouldn’t even put this experience out there. I’m not criticizing the facility I went to. We are a fractured and injured healthcare system. Many are trying their hardest to provide the best care they can. However, at the moment staffing shortages, lack of childcare, a pandemic are creating an environment where patience may be a virtue but it’s being heavily tested.