The ER draws a lot of visitors. Sometimes...people who don't really need to be there.
Often, as the case is, kids get taken there by parents who demand attention. Maybe the kid does need to be there, and maybe they don't. But regardless, the parents definitely don't need to be talking to the doctors like this.
Here were some of the answers.
A Matter Of PrioritiesGiphy
A lot of pediatricians will tell you the hardest part of pediatrics isn't the patients, but their parents. It's difficult to explain to hostile parents that their 6 year old with the sniffles will be waiting longer than the 6 year old coughing up blood. We have a specialized children's ER in our state, and many parents bring their children with simple ear infections or colds here instead of their family doctor, because they know the ER has senior specialists. It's a huge burden on the public system. Especially when they act shocked that they have to wait 4 hours after being triaged, and abuse the nurses for it.
Their fears are understandable though, they want what is best for their child. I'd take over-involved before under-involved, any day of the week. Child abuse and neglect is seen in both ER and outpatients, alongside atypical cases. In outpatients there was a child with significant language delay. She was tested for several things like autism, and it turned out her parents just didn't really speak to her. The father worked a lot and the mother openly admitted she just wasn't 'interested', so wouldn't take her to play groups, the park, talk to her, etc.
The mother was extensively interviewed for long-term postpartum depression, both were screened for mental health or domestic issues. Ultimately they were right, they just weren't... interested. The child hadn't been planned, and they just weren't deeply invested in the child-parent relationship. The child was otherwise well looked after in this upper middle class family, but was utterly emotionally neglected. They believed feeding and clothing her was sufficient for normal development. It was bizarre and entitled behaviour.
An Escort To The Door
Saw a 30yo guy who came in with complaint of chest pain. After seeing and examining him, his story sounded like GERD, but cardiac workup was started. Got called away from the module to deal with a teenager who was shot and ended up dying. When I got back the guy's mom was there and was irate that I hadn't been in to talk to her in the 15min since she arrived. I tried to explain that his workup had already been started, there were other patients in the department who also needed my attention, and many of whom were far more sick. She lost it, basically said she didn't care about anyone else and her son was the only one who matters. She wouldn't calm down, and was eventually escorted out by security.
You're Waiting; More At 11
Last time I was in the ER a local news "anchor" came in. I actually did recognize him.
He walked by where we were sitting, and I saw him go up to the check in area and immediately demand to go straight to triage and I heard what you'd expect:
"Don't you know who I am?"
a response I wasn't expecting but made me laugh:
"I do not, and I don't really care."
and something like:
"I don't want to be waiting with all these sick people... you better not make me wait."
To which she told him to have a seat and wait.
It was really funny to listen to. It's the second local news personality I've encountered in my life, and both were super loud.
Your Child Is Not An Inconvenience
Not a doctor, but a nurse and a mom. So this took place in an affluent community in South OC California. When my son was about 5 months old he was in the hospital for a kidney infection. So a sick baby girl is admitted into the next crib, maybe 3 months old.
The father was present when the baby was admitted, then immediately took off. He said something to the effect that he was paying tons of money for his baby to be taken care of in the hospital, so he was going to go home and get a good night's sleep with his wife (who hadn't even bothered to show up).
Meanwhile my husband and I are camped out at our baby's bedside through the night. Keep in mind, this is not a NICU or PICU, just a regular pediatric unit. This is not a locked unit and anyone can come in and out through the night (meaning anyone could come in and pick up their baby and leave). Well, as you can imagine, that poor baby cried all night, the nurse did her best, but with multiple patients to care for she eventually had to call the parents and demand that one of them come back in to hold their baby. They were not happy. I was blown away that they would just leave their baby like that.
Nurses Do Read Minds
Nurse here. My colleague was discharging a patient and, in the process, asked if he needed his parking validated. He sneered at her and responded, "I'm on the board of this hospital. I don't need your validation to do anything."
Turns out he was a local philanthropist and multimillionaire, and I guess we were supposed to know that.
Ah Adults Who Can't Take Care Of Themselves
ER nurse here. Had a minor local celebrity show up in the middle of the night for back pain. He had another man with him, so I asked how they were related. The visitor stated that he was the patient's chauffeur and personal assistant. The visitor then proceeded to inform me of the patient's identity, as if I should be grateful to be taking care of this celebrity.
Woo. Go him, I guess. Having not grown up in the area where I live now, this meant I had literally no idea who he was. Honestly didn't care and still don't.
The visitor also told me that money was no object and that the patient required only the best care and if that meant a helicopter to a specialist or whatever, they could make it happen. The ER I work in is a large academic medical center with more specialists than it knows what to do with. We get people flown in to see them, not usually the other way around.
Spent the rest of the night running back and forth while he screamed bloody murder over his back pain and his personal assistant followed me around expecting me to cater to his employer's every whim. 1/10, do not recommend.
TLDR- Local celebrity dragged his personal assistant out of bed for his back pain, came to my ER and became my ass pain.
Psychosis Comes In Different Forms
Not a doctor, but I had a rather memorable experience. When I was about 21, I began experiencing gallbladder issues. One night, the attack got so bad that I crawled to my roommate's room and asked her to take me to the hospital. As soon as we got there, the nurse immediately took me in for assessment. I was in so much pain that I couldn't talk, so my roommate gave the nurse all my information. The nurse went to get me something for the pain, and my roommate went to call my parents for me, so I was sitting alone in intake for a couple minutes.
This lady comes in, literally picks me up by the arm and leads me back to the waiting area. I didn't even realize this lady wasn't a nurse. All of a sudden, I hear yelling, and I learned later that was transpired was that this lady was actually a patient who was mad that I went to jntake before her, led me back to the waiting room, and tried to take my spot in the intake room. She was escorted out by security.
I Hear You; You Don't Hear Me
I'm not a doctor, but I was a volunteer at my local urgent care clinic.
There was a father there with his maybe 5-6 year old son and they were there for the son's wart treatment where you have to return every week or so. It was a particularly busy day (I volunteer Saturday's) and the queue is like 18 charts long with one doctor on duty. Naturally we have people asking where they are in line and I let them know which includes the father. Maybe an hour passes and I eventually call the two of them. The moment the father walks through the door he starts berating me and asking why he had to wait in the waiting room around sick people with his son, both of whom are not sick.
I explain to him it's a first come first serve basis and that everyone is waiting just as they are. I also point out he could have just waited outside in the hallway and let us know. He then says the last time they were there, they didn't have to wait this long. I tell him it really depends on the amount of people on that given day and that we have no control over it. No matter how much I reasoned with him, he was dead set on yelling at me about the unfairness of his treatment while is poor son is standing there listening to his angry dad.
Going back many years but my favourite:
Me: Inspect child's rash "It's impetigo".
Mother: "What's that?"
Me: "School sores, it's a ..."
Mother literally said: "it can't be that, we are rich"
Mother: "can we see someone more senior?"
Me: gets ED consultant to review
Consultant: "Hello! Oh what do we have here? Oh look impetigo!"
Mother: Stares in disbelief asks to see a paediatric dermatologist as they can't possibly have a "poor" disease.
ED consultant is a super relaxed guy and says "yep" and calls our most Paediatric skin specialist. He is a big deal in the paeds dermatology world and he is our weird rash expert.
He comes to review the patient. We watch him enter the cubicle, a couple of minutes later exits asks for a script pad, scribbles his order goes back in hands the mother the script and she profusely thanks him for his time and expertise. She glares at us as she leaves.
Dr Weird Rash Expert turns to us and says: Impetigo. I just told her it was a unusual variant that children of wealthy people get when in the tropics.
The Queen Is ComingGiphy
I used to volunteer at a hospital and got to overhear a nurse doing her best to not headbutt a woman in all pink with a beehive hair style and giant tortoise shell sunglasses claiming to be distant relatives of royalty. It was extra hilarious because the nurse was kinda ignorant so when the woman claimed to be the second half step-cousin or some sh*t of a duke of Liechtenstein I got to hear in a deep urban accent "licken-what? Liechten-stain? That not a real place now I'mma need you to go take a seat hun"