ER on July 4th weekend

The EMT kept using the word assault to the nurse and I wanted to interrupt and say, I don’t think you are using the word the way you think it is meant to be used. There were over 4 assaults brought in by EMT in a short period of time. One was a woman who was assaulted by her male partner. He struck her in her head in front of her children. She required stitches.

I met a drug user for the first time. Her arm was infected at the injection site. I watched C. make an incision and tons of fluid flowed from her arm. I wasn’t expecting the quantity of fluid nor expecting it to smell very badly. Luckily she wasn’t watching my facial expressions. C. said normally it doesn’t smell so badly but it was probably weeks of built up bacteria. He put packing material in her arm which leaves the wound open and allows the tissues to heal from the bottom up. It allows for fluid to continually flow out of the wound, which could take weeks to heal. The packing material looked like an accordion of yellow spongy tape. She is supposed to visit a doctor every few days to get the packing material replaced until the wound heals.

Another drug user came in and wanted to steal gloves. He was discharged.

I went into another patient’s room for supplies and she was handcuffed by arms and legs with several security standing by.

Another couple with a toddler had a fever and mom was impatient and said we are leaving and going to General Hospital. The wait time was not long and doctors are busy. They are making their rounds to see every patient. It may appear to be a long time but no one is forgotten. If I had a toddler and she only had a fever that is really not a reason to bring her to the hospital where she could get further infections. If she had a fever for more than a day, maybe but it’s too early.

Nurses get a 30 minute break in their shift but doctors and physicians assistants don’t get any breaks or time to eat lunch.  I am continually surprised by how much I learn by standing in the shadows.

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