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05 March 2011 @ 02:24 pm
It's time for another exciting round...  
...of Tay asks Americans questions! *canned applause*

Could some kindly Yank on my flist (or two or three even) describe how a visit to the ER would go in the States? It's for fic and I know the Canadian health system works a bit differently (for nowish at least) than the American one. As a guideline for what I'm looking for, I've written out how it would likely go down in my local ER. I'm happy with anything from an outline to a more detailed account and I'm looking for info on walk-in cases, not someone who's arrived by ambulance.

- You walk into Emerg and sit down the triage area by the door. The triage nurse(s) will call people in by the order they arrived, unless someone is looking more grim than the others
- You get called in to their little cubby area and they take your BP and temp and take your Health Card and scan it. Then they ask what's wrong and make little notes on their notey paper. Then you're told to sit down and wait for the receptionist to call you.
- And then you wait. Anywhere from not too long to 'what are they doing back there?' long. Then your name gets called and you go up to the receptionist and she verifies your address, next of kin, family doctor etc. and gives you a temporary hospital bracelet. And your Health Card back.
- And then you wait. After awhile you get called by a nurse to go back to a bed bay or room.
- And then you wait. Eventually the resident comes to see you. She talks about what the problem is, orders any tests she thinks necessary and leaves to consult the attending. You wait for the nurse to come in and take your blood/give you a specimen jar/etc, or someone to take you to imaging for some sort of scan. You get that all finished...
-...And then you wait for the test results to come back and/or the attending to come and confirm the residents suspicions.
- And then you get discharged with your prescription/referral/kick in the ass. And it's about eight hours+ since you first got there and you can't remember where you parked.

donutsweeperdonutsweeper on March 5th, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC)
okay... last April son fell off his bike and broke his arm and my hubby took him to the ER. Here's what happened according to him

You go in and go to the main desk where you tell the nurse on duty the problem. For something serious-ish like this (in this case the obviously broken arm) they take your info right there and enter it into the computer instead of handing you a form to take back to the chairs to fill out. (insurance info taken here. Card was photocopied, the cards here don't have barcodes for scanning)

Then they take you to a triage area where they confirmed the injury (done by a nurse or low level intern doctor, but not a "real" doctor). The hospital bracelet was put on here.

then shifted wheelchair and wheeled to an ER room (the kind with a bed that you see in the shows) and they make you change into gown. Then son was taken to radiology to get Xrays done. That was the point more forms were filled out by adult (next of kin, allergies, etc).

Then kid is returned and wait for doctor, etc. ER doc came in to try to reset bone and he was taken to a special 'work' area to do the reseting (because drugs needed to be administered to knock him out)..then back to original ER room to wait for him to wake up and after woken up and re-xrayed then released with referral/meds/etc

The whole thing took less than four hours

eta- there is an armed security guard/cop in a bullet-proof booth that is RIGHT as soon as you walk into the ER

Edited at 2011-03-05 07:40 pm (UTC)
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on March 6th, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
Great! Thanks so much. The bullet proof booth is a great detail I wouldn't have known about. We have security guards here, but the only time I've ever seen them actually in the ER was when I was waiting for them to get me my Percocet for my kidney stones and there was a clearly suicidal/homicidal man sobbing in a little room next to where I was standing. They had a security guard in with him and the doctor, understandably. The door was open and he was also on the security monitors by the nurses desk. That was very awkward. :(
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on March 5th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
Here's my experience when I had an allergic reaction to something. The reaction wasn't so bad that my throat was closing up but my face looked awful and I didn't want to wait until the throat swelling started to happen before going to the ER.

1. I walked into the ER and went to the desk. There I was given a short form to fill out regarding the reason for being there.

2. I was called rather quickly and noticed that there were others before me who hadn't been called yet. But I'm guessing this had to do with the fact that they were worried that at any minute I could stop breathing.

3. A nurse took my BP and asked me more detailed questions about how I was feeling.

4. After she left, an ER doctor whom I'm pretty sure was there on his internship came to see me about ten minutes later. He examined me and asked me again some questions about how I felt. He the gave me Benadryl and steroids as well as a 'scrip for the latter to use later. (As a complete side note, the ER doctor was insanely hot. I was really sad that my face looked like it was melting b/c really...HOT.)

5. After this I went to a different desk where they took my insurance information.

The entire process took about 30 minutes. Possibly less. So the whole thing sort of depends on how seriously they think your condition is versus how serious it actually was.
The Writer They Call Tay: Dresden: wizard wizardingawanderingbard on March 6th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, triage is tricky. At the smaller hospital's ER they go very much in order of who arrived, which usually means you're behind fifteen people who aren't really that sick and should probably just be in bed with some Motrin and one guy who is genuinely ill who is trying to let you go in ahead of him. But at the bigger hospital's ER, they triage heavily and then continue to check on you as you're waiting to make sure you haven't worsened. And kids always go in first.

In my experience, ER residents are on a whole a very hot species. I don't know what happens to them once they've become attendings, but residents are very good looking folks.

I envy your 30 minute visit. That's unheard of here. Welcome to universal healthcare, bitches!

Thanks for taking the time to answer! I am very appreciative.