My children were quite often in need of emergency care and I never once thought twice about taking them for that needed medical attention.
About two weeks ago, one of my brothers was very ill and needed treatment. I went to the emergency room to sit with him while he waited. And he waited. For a very long time. But finally he was able to get the attention he needed and today he is doing fine.
Emergency treatment is not something that’s needed every day but it’s a tremendous blessing when you do need it to have it available and close at hand.
Workers in the emergency room are a fine and first line of defense when we need care and in my opinion, they don’t get paid nearly enough. While I was sitting there the other day, a stream of patients flowed in like water from an open fire hydrant. It was one after the other after the other complaining with stomach flu, headaches, one woman came in screaming in pain from labor and in a few minutes, a new baby entered the world.
A beautiful little girl sitting on her father’s knee sobbed because her ears were hurting, her forehead burning with a fever. Another child a few chairs away vomited into the floor, prompting the call for housekeeping.
So many people were suffering. So many people were needing care. Each case that entered the door brought in a need that would probably turn the average person’s stomach. But to these angels of mercy it is just something they intend to heal. And heal they do. They wrap bandages. They administer medication through shots. They take x-rays. They assure the patient that a doctor or someone with knowledge of their condition will be with them soon.
Intravenous needles are inserted and bags of fluid started to help rehydrate patients who can’t keep anything on their stomach. Antibiotics are started for those who are suffering with some kind of infection.
Visiting an emergency room for most of us is just a once-in-a-while thing. But to the caregivers there, it’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Working in an emergency room requires astute assessment skills, flexibility and the ability to function in a very high stress department.
Highly skilled, compassionate healthcare providers staff the emergency department. The ER team consists of nurses, physicians, medical and radiology technicians and more, working in unison to stabilize the patient who makes an unplanned visit to the ER for urgent or emergent health care. And they need housekeeping.
The focus of an ER is to stabilize and treat the population of patients who arrive in the department independently or in an ambulance. The primary goal of the emergency room staff is to stabilize the patient’s condition by treating the acute problem and discharging the patient.
The prime responsibility of the emergency room staff is to deliver timely, compassionate care in a critical setting for a patient who presents with an acute, often life threatening illness, injury or trauma.
Little Johnny may have fallen out of a tree and broken his arm. Little Suzie may have scraped her knees while skating on the sidewalk. Mom may have accidentally cut a finger while preparing dinner and is losing lots of blood. But at times, there is that major event — a victim critically injured in a car crash is bleeding profusely, a gunshot victim enters with part of his intestines hanging out, a middle-aged man suffering a massive heart attack or a young mother without her knowledge is suffering the early stages of a stroke.
Emergency rooms are filled with high tech equipment to treat the wide variety of maladies. And the place is rarely quiet as the crew delivers care to the ever-changing patient load.
Emergency department workers face high job stress, high volumes of work, long hours on their feet and they have to make quick decisions under pressure which carries a significant burden of responsibility.
As the Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross continues its transition to Memorial Satilla Health, let’s keep in mind the people who carry out the work of the emergency room and be thankful that we have a well-trained staff, access to highly-sophisticated hospital and medical equipment and people who care about the next patient that’s coming through the doors.
They may have been on duty 12 hours but they realize the only hour that’s important is the patient’s “golden hour” and they are willing to work overtime and perform unpleasant tasks to make sure the patient gets what he or she needs in a timely fashion.
And quite often, they need the help of housekeeping.