When a patient is in hospital gown on a gurney in the ER, the feeling is one of being powerless. Here’s an approach that just might help you someday.
Virginia is a delightful 57 year old consultant. She has a complex past history. She woke up early one morning and was short of breath. She knew that this was caused by fluid in her chest. She went to the emergency department of a large teaching hospital. She had her cell phone handy in order to keep in touch with her advocates.
She had had fluid drained from her chest a number of times in the past. Once the fluid is drained, she is good to go.
In the emergency department, she started her eight hour wait to have her chest drained. The chest xray showed a lot of fluid on the left side. She was very short of breath.
The interns and residents were trying to get an interventional radiologist to drain the fluid. They could not get through to anyone. Nothing happened for hours.
Here Is What Happened:
Virginia picked up her cell phone and emailed her advocates at Rupert Case Management. She is an active client. We called the hospital and asked for locating. The operator at locating knows which doctors are on call for specific specialities that day. The shift change is 5PM, so there is a doctor on call until 5PM, and then another doctor on call from 5PM on.
We were able to get the name of the on call interventional radiologist. We called him and emailed him. We were polite and succint. He responded to our email with a call to our office. He agreed to look in on the patient.
This doctor was amazing. He went to the emergency department to see Virginia. He ordered a procedure tray. He drained the 1.5 litres of fluid. He emailed us to ask if we wanted the fluid analyzed. We did want it cultured. He did a great job. The patient emailed us to say she was on her way home.
It is important to remember that calling the hospital operator and asking for locating is the key to identifying the right person in the hospital for the right job.