Yesterday, on his way to the post office, my dad fell. Thankfully, he is living in Co-op City, one of the best places in the city, and people were around immediately to help him. A security guard called me twice, once to tell me what happened and that he called an ambulance and a second time to give me the name of the hospital. The construction workers around stopped what they were doing to care for him. The Bronx, and particularly places like Co-op City, aren't touted as good places to live, but as long as my dad can live alone, I wouldn't want him anywhere else.
The ambulance took him to Einstein Hospital, the hospital I credit with finding his cancer and saving his life. And, while I will say thank you to the doctors for fixing him up, I will say BAH HUMBUG when it came to patient care. We waited hours to see a doctor and even longer (almost two hours) for the nurse to bring the pain killer he ordered. There was a machine behind my dad that beeped non stop and no one bothered to turn it off for more than a few minutes at a time. Before we left a patient advocate let us know all we had to do was hit a yellow button and it was a shame we weren't told this. My dad missed his turn at x-ray because no one came to pick him up and even when we were told we could leave, it took another hour and a half to get tubes removed and papers signed.
I had a long conversation with the patient advocate as we waited to depart and let her know all my concerns. She listened, upset at what I told her and said to say something earlier next time. The truth of the matter is I would have except I watched the poor staff run around, like chickens without heads, doing their best to take care of everyone. No one was sitting around shooting the breeze or having a leisurely cup of coffee. These nurses, techs and aids were providing the best care they could. There just was not enough personnel to handle the patient load. The PA that took care of my dad was a fine young man who was running in a hundred directions at once. By the end of the night, I wanted to tell him to lay down in the bed my dad was vacating. (He looked like he needed it.)
ER's take care of sick people. They save lives. The people that work their deserve decent paychecks and the utmost respect from everyone. Hospital administrators need to see how overworked and overwhelmed these people get and they need to do something to alleviate these working conditions because, unless these conditions are improved, lives will be lost. But hey, ERs like this take care of us 99%ers and the people in charge don't much care.