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(@speee1dy)
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hey
i heard that on saturday someone died in the waiting room of the hospital in stx. i guess there was no one working in the emergency room?? also heard someone went into the emergency room with an asthmas attack and they were told to take tylenol and sleep it off??

 
Posted : February 9, 2009 8:05 pm
(@Linda_J)
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it would be more credible if you cited your source. That said, people do sometimes die in ER waiting rooms, at least in the states they do.

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 1:00 am
A Davis
(@A_Davis)
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speee1dy

would you please supply your source(s)? right now you are spreading rumor(s). from whom did you hear these things? a man you don't know at a club, or hospital employee? or, the actual victims of these alleged instances?

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 1:07 am
(@speee1dy)
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my bf was in the hospital yesterday and was talking to someone who had to go 3 days in a row. this person is the one who said that to him. no i dont know this persons name but is it really inconceivable that this would happen?? not when this kind of thing happens in the states and the people working in the hospital do nothing.

sure its a rumor but was wondering also if anyone had heard this besides me, i should have asked in earlier post if anyone had heard it too.
and i dont hang out in clubs and i dont believe things that people i dont know tell me.

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 10:54 am
A Davis
(@A_Davis)
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but is it really inconceivable that this would happen?? not when this kind of thing happens in the states and the people working in the hospital do nothing too.

no it is not inconceivable that this could happen. however, if you had included the info in your second post, into the first, i'd have been more likely to suspend that disbelief. adding the query of whether anyone was working in the emergency room added an editorial twist. this forum is just like a conversation, even though we are not face to face.

there is no telling what the actual facts are in this case, and unfortunately if this witness is not likely to file any formal reports anywhere it remains a rumor. people do die in emergency rooms, but not necessarily due to negligence. people die everywhere.

of course i will keep my eye on the media for any mention of such a thing.

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 11:04 am
(@limetime2)
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The hospital here has a lot of problems. That is a fact. Read the newspapers, they are failing in so many ways and struggling to retain accreditation. I personally hope to never have to go there and will certainly schedule all my medical care that can be scheduled... off island.

That said... I wouldn't doubt that someone died in ER... it actually wouldn't be that strange... people die in their homes, on the streets, in their beds... and when do you go to the ER? When it is for an EMERGENCY!!! The problem with the ER here is that half the island uses it as their doctors office... have a sniffle, go to ER... baby coughing... take it to the ER... That is why it takes so long to get triaged and that is why some people have to come back 3 days in a row...cause it is not an EMERGENCY. If people would go see their Doctors instead of clogging up the emergency room then maybe some of the emergency patients would be able to be seen in a more timely manner. My suggestion, if you have a true emergency... call an ambulance... from the hospital parking lot... at least then you will be taken direclty in the back door and attended to! 🙂

ahhh... life in the islands. Mark 'good hospital ' as one of the definitive negatives.

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 11:15 am
(@speee1dy)
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limetime, i have also heard that if you need to go to the hospital use the ambulance. and yes i have heard many people who use the emergency room as their personal dr.
a davis, i believe i said that yes i should have stated this as a question. i did put question marks at the end of the sentances in the original post. and if you hear anything i would be interested to know.
limetime,the person who came back 3 days in a row actually had an appointment for a procedure. this person when he/she showed up at the hospital was told to come back the next day after waiting for hours, this happened 3 days in a row.
limetime have you had a good or bad experience at the hospital?? just curious. or have you been lucky enough to have never had to go?
the few time people i know who have had to go for an emergency who did not use an ambulance left. one flying to florida to get checked out. the other person being told the procedure needed could not be done at the hospital.

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 11:40 am
(@east-ender)
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speee1dy:

First, I want to confirm that you are talking about Juan Luis on St Croix.

Second, the territorial hospitals are rural outposts. Many new residents are accustomed to full-service urban hospitals. Neither hospital has every specialty service and sometimes if there is a specialty there is only one physician or practitioner. This is why people have to airlifted out.

Third, the health care system is broken on the mainland and here. And I am not talking about insurance. I am talking about expectations about what health care is. Do you have a primary care physician? Many people do not. Do you take care of the risk factors you can control? Many people seem to be irresponsible about the care and feeding of their shell, but want to have every high tech procedure done. And then, if anything goes "wrong" they complain. (speee1dy- I am using "you" in the general sense, I don't mean you personally.)

Okay, guess I will get off THAT soap box. Shall we discuss dolphin prisons now?;)

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 12:14 pm
(@BeachPhilosopher)
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limetime,the person who came back 3 days in a row actually had an appointment for a procedure. this person when he/she showed up at the hospital was told to come back the next day after waiting for hours, this happened 3 days in a row.

Sppe1dy: Without know the specifics I can take a fairly educated guess on your friends problem. If they were scheduled for a procedure did this involve the utilization of an important hospital resource for example say an MRI? I'm guessing since he was scheduled that whatever he was going in for wasn't vitally time sensitive. Now if there is only one MRI, or whatever resource, in the VI and a patient comes in and is in critical need of that resource, the scheduled patient, who's inconvenienced but not put at a high risk of death or serious injury, gets bumped down the list. This happens in the mainland too, but by and large the resources are more plentiful here, so it happens less frequently and when it does the delays are shorter. Like I said it's just a friendly educated guess, but it would make a lot of sense to me. I'm getting the impression that the VI does not a have a glut of state of the art medical equipment. 🙂

Also regarding the flooding of the ER with non-emergency patients. Up here a lot of hospitals/communities are opening Urgent Care locations. They're generally open from about 7am-10pm and are there to treat things like broken bones, do physicals, treat colds/flus, etc. You know all the stuff that people go to the ER for but shouldn't. Have any of those trickled down island yet?

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 5:57 pm
(@GoodToGo)
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We've been here about 10 months now and our experience is but a single data point However I will tell you that one of the two times I took my wife the the ER here (STX) was frightening. She had significant chest pains and some numbness on one side (forget which) which to me are classic heart attack symptoms and warrant immediate care. Well immediate in this case we were sent right to the triage nurse to sit in a chair behind the young mom with the crying baby that had a fever. I'm so glad my wife didn't have a heart attack as we had to wait 10 minutes for the triage nurse to see her and she would have been dead (although in all fairness had my wife keeled over and hit the floor the triage nurse might have decided to look at her then!)

Lesson learned - next time if our need to go to the E.R. appears to truly be life threatening we'll use the ambulance!

limetime, i have also heard that if you need to go to the hospital use the ambulance...

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 6:34 pm
(@Lizard)
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The Majority of the People that use the ER for primary care don't have Hospitalization. The law requires that the Hospital takes care of everyone who goes there, regardless of how they are going to pay or if they are ever going to pay.

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 6:36 pm
(@Juanita)
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Wouldn't a public relations director train the staff to say something like..."We're sorry, Mr. Smith. The only MRI machine on island is being used right now to help diagnose a patient with a serious emergency. We need to reschedule you for tomorrow. " (or whatever the situation was) I would suggest that if someone, anyone, had said anything remotely similar to speee1dy's friend, he would have accepted the situation with no more than and "oh well".

It's pretty basic customer service...just talk to us!

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 6:48 pm
antiqueone
(@antiqueone)
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Juan Luis has "Fast Track" for non-emergent patients. They treat minor lacerations, fractures, abscesses, colds and flu and that sort of thing. It is staffed by PA's and nurses and patient approval rating has been consistently over 95% positive for the past 2 1/2 years. Where the waiting gets bogged down is the "new" computerized triage system which has (A) a huge learning curve and (B) is of all possible triage programs probably the most cumbersome and inefficient. Another problem that slows the ER is that a huge percentage of bed space is often taken up by "admitted" patients with "no available bed space" on the medical floors. If the hospital had more nurses, they could get those patients out of the ER and ER patients could be treated sooner. The ER and Fast Track are currently undergoing reorganization and it remains to be seen whether things get better, though that is the hope. Finally here, like everywhere else I have been, far too many people come in for "serious colds" that started that morning. As noted by others above, if more people would take primary responsibility for their health, ERs everywhere would be less bogged down. (But that is not the American Way, is it?)
BTW, Fast Track sees patients noon to 8 M-F and 8-8 Sat, Sun, and Holidays

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 6:53 pm
(@BeachPhilosopher)
Posts: 25
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Wouldn't a public relations director train the staff to say something like..."We're sorry, Mr. Smith. The only MRI machine on island is being used right now to help diagnose a patient with a serious emergency. We need to reschedule you for tomorrow. " (or whatever the situation was) I would suggest that if someone, anyone, had said anything remotely similar to speee1dy's friend, he would have accepted the situation with no more than and "oh well".

It's pretty basic customer service...just talk to us!

I would hope that the PR person would train their staff to do so, but that doesn't mean that they did. 😉 Also the story comes to spee1dy third hand and to us fourth, if you've ever played 'telephone' or known someone that just enjoys b!@#$ing for b!@#$ing's sake it's not out of the question that the person did receive such a notice, but omit that part of the story when he/she/it was frustratedly regaling spee1dy's bf with the tale. With all that said I admit I've never used the VI's medical facilities, so I'm not particularly authoritative on the experience. I just saw a possible explanation and wanted to offer it up. 🙂

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 7:05 pm
(@BeachPhilosopher)
Posts: 25
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Also speaking of death in hospitals (any hospital). While hospitals do save and improve the lives of a ton of people, look at the number of people in the US that contract MRSA while admitted to a medical facility. The sad fact of the world is that hospitals are full of sick people and sometimes sick people die despite our best efforts.

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 7:18 pm
(@speee1dy)
Posts: 8867
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antiqueone
i did like your reply. you sound like you know what you are talking about.

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 8:30 pm
(@east-ender)
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Juanita: "Public relations director"??? Did you forget where you live? 😉

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 9:25 pm
Trade
(@Trade)
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Several years ago I broke my ankle & thought I might have broken both ankles. It was on a Saturday & I didn't care to go sit in the emergency room for hours since there were no orthopedic doctors in their office so I went to Dr. Nappier, a vet. I got on the table, he ex-rayed my ankles, saw the fracture in one & taped me up. He used to be a football coach so knew how to do it & he told me to stay off it until Monday when I could get to the doctor. (No, he didn't give me a Milk-bone for being a good patient.)

I asked him how much I owed him & he refused any money but after I insisted, said he had a "poor dog fund" for people who couldn't afford pet care. I gave him $100.00. A couple days later a local lady found a half-grown puppy that had been hit by a car & gotten its leg broken. She really liked the dog & wanted to keep it so Doc Nappier fixed the dog with my $100.00 & the lady got a nice dog just in time for Christmas. (tu)

When I went to the doctor he sent me to get ex-rays. The first set were no good & I had to have them taken over. It wound up that the doctor used the vet's ex-rays as they were the best of all 3 sets taken. True story. So there is such a thing as alternative medicine - visit your vet.

And yes, RLS Hospital is vastly improved these days but I still would want to avoid the ER if I possibly can.

 
Posted : February 10, 2009 11:43 pm
(@speee1dy)
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trade loved your story

 
Posted : February 11, 2009 12:00 am
(@Lizard)
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Trade,
That's some "Tail".

 
Posted : February 11, 2009 12:07 am
(@Suzette)
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That is a doggone great story ! It really was Purrfect !

I hope your ankle heeled correctly...

😀

 
Posted : February 11, 2009 3:26 am
Trade
(@Trade)
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It did, thanks!

 
Posted : February 11, 2009 9:32 am
(@east-ender)
Posts: 5404
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Trade: I hope you don't need it either, but if it is an EMERGENCY, they will care for you! 😎

 
Posted : February 11, 2009 9:07 pm
Trade
(@Trade)
Posts: 3904
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Oh, I'm sure they would but even now I wouldn't look forward to spending most of the weekend day there if I didn't have to. I've had very good experiences at RLS itself. Never had to use the emergency room luckily.

 
Posted : February 11, 2009 9:13 pm
(@roadrunner)
Posts: 593
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This thread is fascinating to me, as I work in an emergency department (please, it's not just a room anymore 🙂 ) -- not on STX, but I hope to work there someday. It's nice to see that so many people out there GET what the ED is for and why there are such huge problems with crowding and wait times.

Just to clarify what Lizard said, the EMTALA law (emergency medical treatment and labor act) says that a patient who shows up in an ED has to at least be seen by a physician and treated if there is an emergent condition. If there is no emergent medical condition, treatment is not required, but people are usually taken care of anyway unless that is impossible. Sometimes an ED, or a hospital in general, cannot treat a patient due to lack of resources. For example, some hospitals don't have neurosurgeons, so they have to send a patient elsewhere to have their brain tumor removed. A patient with a cold does not have an emergent medical condition and thus does not require treatment in an ED after they have been seen by a physician. (There really isn't any treatment for a cold anyway. Why doesn't the world know this yet?)

No one even mentioned the myriad drug seekers who take up time and space.*-) Or the fact that many not-sick people have caught on to the fact that ambulances often get them in the door faster, so they use them as a taxi service. Many EDs are now putting ambulance patients in the waiting room or on a stretcher in the hall after they have triaged them.

Someone mentioned that the reason for ED crowding is inpatient bed backups. This is absolutely true; multiple studies have shown this. The not-sick patients are in and out of the ED pretty fast, and although the not-sick patients make us all roll our eyes, it's the ones who are waiting for a bed upstairs who take up space for hours and hours and cut down the number of available ED beds in which new patients can be seen. This is not good care for those admitted patients, and it's not good for the potential emergencies that may be about to come in the door. (Don't even get me started on the psych patients. It can take DAYS to find a facility with space to take them.)

People do die in waiting rooms, but it is not particularly common. Occasionally they die due to negligence on the part of the ED. Sometimes they die because they have a disastrous medical condition like a massive heart attack and they just didn't get to the hospital fast enough. In most EDs, the triage nurses are very well trained and experienced, so they are able to move these very sick patients into a room quickly and bypass all of the colds, ingrown toenails, "I vomited once yesterday," etc. However, they don't have x-ray vision, and it is possible for a patient to look great and have great vital signs but to have something going very wrong inside. It is also possible for a patient to look awful and be basically fine. These are exceptions to the rule, of course. My point is that no triage system is perfect.

Our healthcare system is most definitely broken. It's sometimes frustrating to work in it, and I'm sure it's frustrating to be a patient in it. Some things are completely unpreventable, but those who pointed out that we all need to really work hard to take care of our bodies are absolutely correct. If everyone ate reasonably, exercised, quit smoking, drank moderately, etc., we would all be much better off. Also... I can't resist looking at the financial side of things... why should my taxes help take care someone who has spent his whole life doing everything under the sun to sabotage his health?

 
Posted : February 12, 2009 7:10 pm
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