I had an experience this last weekend. A good friend was taken by ambulance to a downtown Des Moines ER Friday night. It was not like what we experience at Iowa Specialty. My friend, when the ambulance got to the hospital, was helped off the gurney by the EMT’s and was sat in a wheelchair …and then waited. A triage exam by a nurse was given after about 45 minutes; a warm blanket was offered and then we sat. After four hours at midnight - I went to the registration folks who said we probably have at least another couple of hours of waiting. So, we left AMA (against medical advice). It felt like they didn’t have any issues with us leaving - that took about 2 minutes to sign the paperwork and pull out the IV after my friend decided. (I’ve heard stories - could be rumors - that about 25% of patients down there leave before being seen because of the wait …)
So … lessons. First, we have people complain if they have to wait half an hour to be seen. Try Des Moines. You want water? There’s a vending machine down the hall and it’s $2.50 for a small water. Coffee? No. Also, good luck finding a place to sit.
This isn’t solely to criticize the ERs in Des Moines. (I’m sure they are doing the best job possible in light of the patient load. The number of sick kids and adults was more than they could handle. I asked one of the registration people if this was normal - and he said “sometimes we’re slower and sometimes busier … so yeah, this is normal”.) The system is overwhelmed in the urban areas … and there are ways to alleviate the load, but just having people - who need care - go away is not the answer.
… our grass is the greenest
… this is the BEST place to receive care