It works...in emergencies
It’s so easy as a columnist to always criticize – to find the gaps in the delivery of service or nit pick the details of some ridiculous government program.
In our health care system, for example, there is so much that could be done better or differently. Collectively as Canadians, we shouldn’t be afraid to examine more private involvement in primary and preventive care and more activity by nurses in roles currently provided by doctors, just for starters.
But when push comes to shove, as it did for our family this week, the emergency health system holds.
Kid #2 had an emergency this week. It was something with his brain and eyes and we took no chances.
Not a family who accesses health care gratuitously (Kid #2 had never been to a hospital before in his five years), we rushed to Children’s Hospital.
It was the same night that some kind of vomiting bug was sweeping through Vancouver babies. The emergency room was packed.
Less serious cases waited and waited. Some did leave, as their kids started to feel better from their playground bumps and bruises.
We waited, as well, but not terribly long. It took about an hour from the time we came in the door until we were met by the emergency room doctor.
From the first interview with the admitting nurse at eight o’clock, through to the last meeting with the neurologist at one-thirty in the morning, we were treated with friendly courtesy – manna from heaven for worried parents.
Tests were done kindly. The pediatric nurses and doctors were cheerful and loving to the children.
Even Kid #2’s Star Wars t-shirt was discussed and admired, to great effect.
At some point of the evening, a child with very serious trauma was brought into Children’s. On top of an already busy night, the doctors and nurses swung into real emergency mode. Even though a child was severely hurt and needed all hands on deck, the staff still made a point of telling each family that things were going to take a little longer that evening and why.
Babies were crying, children in pain, parents were nervous, waits were long – but the professionals from nurses to doctors and specialists were polite, helpful, honest and prioritized each case to the best of their abilities.
Children’s Hospital sees 35,000 emergency cases a year and 150,000 other patient visits. Many of the emergency cases are probably not true emergencies – these kids could probably wait until morning and see their family doctor, if they have one.
As we all know, a system that is relying on emergency rooms for non-emergency health care is a hurt system.
But when there is an emergency and a child needs help right away, I am thankful for the great care, delivered with compassion and kindness, at our Children’s Hospital.
As seen today in 24 Hours