The Old Man and the E.R.

The old man knew what it was. At first, he hoped to wait until tomorrow. That wasn’t meant to be. He had to go now, and his regular Doctor was too far away; especially at the time of day. The nearest Emergency Room (E.R.) it was. By this time, he could barely walk, but felt that he was alright to drive.

The walk from the parking garage to the hospital front entry took all he had. There, the security guy told him that he couldn’t go through to the E.R., would have to go around to the back of the hospital. The old man told him that he couldn’t, couldn’t even make it back to his car in the parking garage; told him that he was having heart problems, was in great distress.

Slowly they made it through the hospital to the E.R. There, the old man told the security guy at the E.R. entry of his malady; the guy handed him a form on a clipboard to fill out. When finished, he was told to have a seat in the waiting room. It was 4:30 PM. Three other patients were in the waiting room. One obviously high, one mental, and a third about whom he couldn’t even hazard a guess.

5:00 PM He’s asking himself, will they see me in time?

5:30 PM He’s thinking, must be really backed up in there; can I hold out?

6:00 PM He’s thinking that he should have stayed home and hoped that he could make it through the night.

6:30 PM He’s thinking, all this is only making it worse.

7:00 PM He’s asking himself, should I raise hell? Am I even capable of doing that?

7:30 PM The nurse calls out the his name.

Numbers he had never seen. She couldn’t believe them either. Took a second set of readings, then sent him into the E.R. Made it! Relief. Damn, that was close, he thought. Unbeknownst to him, those unbelievable numbers were indicative of an heretofore undetected malady. Looking back, he wondered if the nurse had understood their significance? How qualified was she?

From then on, the he couldn’t have asked for better care. The E.R. professionals were just that. The hospital was all he could expect.

Of course, the E.R. was one of those operated by TeamHealth; a part of Blackstone. The infamous TeamHealth, Blackstone of egregious billings. Can it be that the hospital can avoid liability with this arrangement?

Later, the old man recounted that he felt lucky to have survived this E.R. experience. Opined that hospitals should not be able to avoid liability; said he thought that they should be required to staff and manage their own E.R.s.