101 Things the Fire Department wishes you knew



Saturday, March 21

...for the headache...


Sometimes the truth leaks through all the fancy dispatch criteria and triage devices we have in place. And sometimes when you get there you say out loud, "Are you kidding me?"

THE EMERGENCY

A caller states she has a severe headache

THE ACTION

Responding, I notice we have been dispatched to a street corner instead of a street address. Since I know the location of most the few remaining working pay phones (this location is not one of them) I assume a cell phone caller.
What I didn't assume was that we would be flagged down at the main entrance to the local hospital. The woman is upset because the doctors want her to wait to be seen. I explain to her that sometimes all the gunshot wounds, car accidents and pregnant women go first and those of us with headaches, if we choose to go to the hospital, wait our turn.
That set her off.

She began screaming to anyone passing by that we were harassing her and leaving her for dead instead of doing our jobs.

"Do you want to be seen by a doctor?" I asked her, carefully recalling the EMTALA laws.
"Yes I do!" She shouts in return clearly standing on hospital property.
"Then by law I am required to take you."

EMTALA (Emergency Medical Transport and Labor Act) says that if you have been triaged, I can not legally transport you away until a physician has deemed you "stable." She is not in my opinion "stable."

I took her by the arm and began to walk around the city block to the emergency room entrance.

"Where are you taking me? I want a different hospital! This one ignored me!"

We walked through the ER entrance and up to the triage nurse who glanced up and pointed towards the door to the waiting room.
"She can go back in line or go home." The nurse exhaled almost without emotion.
"Will do." and I turned to leave.

Back on the street I see the ambulance crew walking towards me with a confused look on their faces.
"The engine boss said you were waiting for us around the corner." One of them said. I replied, "Do I have to do your job too? I already completed the transport guys, you're in service."

I tried to explain the law to the other guys but they cocked their heads when I got into the details. And I'm pretty sure that woman's headache didn't get better as mine just keept on keepin' on.

3 comments:

medicblog999 said...

Absolutely unbelievable!!!!!
Nothing more to say than that.

Nuff said!

Jean said...

Huh? That lady sure NOT know what bad headache really is!!! I'd take her more serious if she doesn't want to talk much and couldn't tolerate much light. I should know because I had minor brain bleed. That was worse pain ever. I birthed two children and such pains pales greatly when compared to this brain bleed. This "headache" lady could argue loudly and sharply? Hahaha, I wouldn't even believe her!

health coaching said...

This is too funny. People always seem to think they are better than someone else. They need to be curtirous to others and realize that some people have it a lot worse.