Oct 13, 2017

My 8-hour Admission to the Emergency Department: “I was Frightened and Alone”

Submitted by Anonymous.

My recent 8-hour admission E.D.

I would like to share with you my recent experience as a patient in your Emergency Department.

On Saturday night 16th April I was transported by ambulance to E.D. I had an 8-hour history of vomiting x 8 (cause unknown at that stage), was feeling generally unwell, very dizzy and vulnerable.

Handover from Ambulance officer to Triage RN was efficiently carried out; I observed there were a number of patients, Police and Ambulance officers busy in this location.

I was moved to Consulting Room 2, a bare and unfinished (in relation to hospital building code requirements) room, isolated from the general hub-bub of E.D. I was transferred to the trolley/bed in that consulting room.

I lay on the trolley/bed for what seemed like hours. I was frightened and alone (no carer or next-of-kin present). I was feeling cold and dehydrated; I was worried about the medical situation I might have been in. I could hear staff, “it’s going to be another night like last night”; so I resigned myself to a long wait.

Being restricted physically due to 18-month old spinal fusion (S1 to T3) I ran my hands along the sides of the trolley/bed, hoping to feel a buzzer. No luck. What seemed like hours later I observed a call button inserted into the wall adjacent to my head. I pressed that buzzer.

An RN rushed into the room, appeared startled to see me there – said nothing, then dashed out of the room. Shortly afterwards someone came in, gave me a hospital gown and told me to change out of my street clothes. The trolley/bed was high off the ground and I felt nervous (spinal fusion) trying to get out of that bed to change.

The kind orderly – Denis – covered me with some warm blankets and turned off the glaring neon lights, leaving a low light switched on. He popped into the room on a few occasions, seemingly to see if I was comfortable and/or wanting for anything. I had reminded Denis that I remembered him from the earlier years of volunteering in the Pre-op Clinic and at the desk on the ground floor of the Milton Park Wing.

An efficient doctor appeared, examined me and asked relevant questions. He ordered fluids to commence ‘stat’ (I was told).

Eventually (0150 Sunday, and more than 3 hours after admission) a nurse hooked me up to IV fluids. This nurse was efficient and kind to me. I understand she was not an RN, nevertheless she was very conscientious. I was impressed with her manner and her skills!

I was told that I had an acute UTI – hence IV antibiotics + the usual IV and oral fluids.

Eventually I was deemed well enough to be discharged; a taxi arrived 30 minutes (6.30am) after I had been seated alone in the waiting room.

Needless to say it has taken several weeks to recover from that experience – both medically and emotionally.

I do appreciate that more urgent cases come through E.D. on many occasions and take priority; however I was physically isolated and not aware of what was going on elsewhere in Emergency during my admission.

The above is a summary of my experience in Emergency Department of BDH. I hope that other patients who come through, as I did, do not experience the feeling of anxiety and isolation that dominated the first 3-4 hours of my 8-hour admission.

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  1. Goodonya Denis, and all the other unnamed nurses and workers who acknowledge people and let them know what’s happening. I know ED’s are busy but surely there is some duty of care as to where patients are being discharged to. I know of one who tried to send my M.I.L home alone in a taxi after midnight more than 35km away in a country town when she came in via ambulance with a racing heartbeat.

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