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ER usage

Let’s talk about emergency room usage aswell as when to take an ambulance and when not to!
Coming from a paramedic, who has worked in the city fyi.

ERs are packed, wait times are sometimes long and unless you actually need the room you are taking a bed from someone who probably needs it. Someone that has their fingers cut off shouldn’t have to wait because you have a head ache and came to the ER for an iv and a dark room. I have waiting with patients that actually needed a room for hours because the ER is packed with things that don’t need to be there, they could have went to the local doctor and been seen there.

And on the same note, as a paramedic if someone calls 911 and they want to go to the hospital we can’t say no. Now that takes a ambulance out of service and two medics. If you have seen the news you will notice that the city doesn’t have extra medics laying around with cars to carry the demand that it puts on EMS. An example is it took me and my partner 45 minutes to get to a child that was in respiratory distress. Maybe it wouldn’t have if the demand for ambulances for non emergency calls weren’t so high, or the city put more ambulances on the road but they haven’t yet so till than think before you call. And by no means am I saying not to call if you need it, but if you are able to get someone to drive you that would be great. Or see your local doctor instead.

ANOTHER GREAT POST:  Rant - Kids Gone Wild at the Edmonton Humane Society

Be mindful

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62 Responses

  1. Yeah I remember sitting in the waiting room with a bone protruding from my wrist sitting next to some kid with the sniffles. And again after getting Bells Palsy thinking I had a stroke sometime during the night.

    On another note, prevention is the best medicine. Wash your hands, eat your veggies and fruits, hydrate, sleep well and stay as active as you can.

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  2. Thank you for what you do.

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  3. Here here! An emergency room is for emergencies I see so many clogged emergency rooms with people who have colds and headaches. It should be that when you are triaged they assess and determine if what you have is an emergency if not thwy should direct you to a medi center or your family doctor.

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    • Shauna Snow Shauna Snow says:

      Good idea. Have had my husband to the ER and they had to put an oxygen tank on him in the waiting room while waiting for a bed. Hospital ER’s are not for dressing changes, head colds, headaches or just a warm place to nap. Makes me so angry.

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    • But like the medics they can’t refuse care and thats where it hurts our ER system. With he new “hospital” coming on the south side it should help a very tiny bit but who knows when that will be up and running.

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    • I doubt it will help having a new hospital all it will create is more people going to the er it’s sad when people who need the treatment are being left to sit and wait because of people who are not needing the emergency services . I think it’s a needless waste of resources .

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    • While I completely agree I just want to point out that some headaches warrant ER visits depending on if they are present with certain symptoms. So just keep that in mind that something else may be going on. Headaches can be symptoms of something much more nefarious

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    • Of course. I just generalized it my bad .

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  4. Faye Segaran Faye Segaran says:

    Thank you for keeping us alive … I very much appreciate you and all heakth care professionals … I know what you do is very demanding both physically and mentaly … I agree … emergency rooms are for emergencies … if you are going there for colds and flus you are potentialy putting vulnerable and sick people at risk …. even most stitches can be dealt with at most clinics as well as some broken bones … I’m not saying that these might be potential emergiences but be mindful of just how serious your situation really is … also it might save you more time to go to clinic as wait times are considerably less more times then not

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  5. JL Baxter JL Baxter says:

    I had to go to the ER the other night for the first time in my life. My doctor called me and told me to go immediately because of something that came up in my bloodwork. (It turned out to be a false positive, but it could have been very serious.) I was sitting there looking perfectly healthy and didn’t feel bad at all–but it was still important to get it checked out. Triage gave me high priority. So you never know why someone is there. I certainly didn’t want to be there!

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  6. My girlfriend sat at 3 hospitals for a headache on 3 different days. Guess what she had a brain anurism. Doc said she only had hours to live if it wasn’t caught. Doc said he was sorry 1000 times for the hospitals not taking her.

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    • My mom had 2 ruptured brain aneurisms. They really do start with a headache, so absolutely headaches can be serious!
      Hope your friend is ok

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    • Yes head aches can be very serious, I think if the ERs weren’t packed with minor colds and things that the local doctor can treat they would have more resources and time to better assess and treat patients. They are over packed all the time and that forces doctors not to do the best they can which really sucks

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  7. Crystal Reid Crystal Reid says:

    I totally agree with people trying their local doctors but someone with chronic headaches since I was 12 and when they last weeks on end and after trying so many different medications.. I’ve had to go to the hospital to get an Iv drip and other medications in the middle of the night.. I also had to get antibiotics iv because I couldn’t open my right hand one due an infection from a burn.. so I get your frustration but you really don’t know why someone is at the hospital

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    • That’s just it. Yes some people shouldn’t be there for something like the sniffles, but even that can be serious. I went in with cold/flu symptoms but ended up in respiratory failure with double bacterial pneumonia. It’s so easy to judge and say these people shouldn’t be in the ER. There needs to be changes made, but not sure what the solution is?

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    • Crystal Reid Crystal Reid says:

      Stacey Turgeon ppl just need to be better at trying local drs first. I know that I try a medi centre first before the hospital

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  8. I agree fully! I almost died waiting for 16 hours in the ER in complete respiratory distress. Ended up in icu for 6 weeks
    But something like a headache can actually be serious. My mom had a brain aneurism and you generally get really bad headaches with those.
    I’m not sure what the solution is…maybe more urgent care centres, later hours in Medi centres?

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  9. I agree with the OP! I am by no means a nurse, Dr or a medic. I am however an emergency admitting clerk. I am that person who makes your emergency chart.
    When you come to emergency and make a chart it costs $400+ that’s not including what to Dr charges. However people don’t know this because the gov’t pays for it if your AHC card is valid. If you leave before you see a Dr that $400+ still applies because the chart was still made. So if you think the ER is a better alternative than a family Dr you are very mistaken. It’s going to take a lot longer to see an ER Dr than a walk in clinic.
    I do also understand in certain cases need to be in an ER like IV therapy and some persistent headaches. But if your puking, have a head cold, or hung over go to the family Dr. If they think it is bad enough they will talk to an ER Dr and send you to the ER.

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  10. I was failed by my dr’s for 17 years it wasn’t until I was passing out from my pain that I started going in. As a result I have now had surgery to diagnose advanced stage four endometriosis visually confirmed from my thighs to my diaphragm and they drained 2L of fluid from the endometriomas they could access through scar tissue… for 17 years I was diagnosed ‘fat’. I don’t look sick… on the outside.

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    • Marie says:

      Taryn … Doctors ‘practice medicine’ … Some should not even be doctors IMHO. Glad you’re ok …

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  11. Samara White Samara White says:

    Unfortunately you don’t know why people are tlat the ER. They might look perfectly healthy, but could have something seriously wrong with them. While I do believe there are probably a ton of people that use it that probably shouldn’t, but you shouldn’t judge who needs it and who doesn’t. On the same note my son had a very high fever for 5 days, I took him to the grey nuns and turns out no hospitals deal with kids anymore so we had to wait 2 hours for an ambulance, and they refused to let me drive him there. We didn’t need the ambulance and we very well could have driven ourselves, but instead we were made to take up an ambulance from someone that could have needed it. Maybe they should let you drive yourself to another hospital instead of using resources that could be used elsewhere.

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  12. For myself, unless something’s broken or bleeding non stop, I can wait till Monday for the medicenter. However. With my baby/toddler: I don’t wait. Babies and small children can have masked symptoms that can only be read by hospital equipment. So I will never apologize for taking my small kids to emergency at 3am for help. But for me? Unless I am literally dieing (lol) or it is an actual emergency, I can wait.

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  13. Thank you! Yes, be mindful. I see over use well more so the best word is ABUSE of the Emergency Department. Biggest pet peeve of mine.

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  14. When in doubt call 811. They will tell you what is best!

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  15. My mother had on going chest/abdominal pain that wouldn’t go away and pacing was the only thing that seemed to comfort her. It hurt so bad she couldn’t talk. I called health link for assessment and they had assured me the consistent abdominal pain needed to be seen in the ER. I always dislike being the person going to the ER if it’s not an emergency. In fact, she insisted that I call 911 even though I was suggesting to them I’d take her myself. The nurse said with what was happening having them to her would be safer. So I called. Wait times in all the surrounding we’d were hours and hours so they suggested Leduc Hospital because she lived on the out skirts of the city close to Leduc. (Their suggestion) so we went. The nurse there was annoyed that we showed up at “their” hospital. I was dumbfounded. They were slow and her words were “I guess payroll won’t get done”. Geez sorry lady. They got my mom in and the treatment was awful. Luckily it was only her gallstones and she needed surgery eventually.

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    • Marie says:

      Andrea – I would like to add from my own experiences … that many hospital personnel are in the wrong field of work, period – “they are dangerous” – – How they get to be working where they are/doing what they’re doing, troubles me deeply to no end.

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    • My friend went to the hospital on four different accounts for severe abdominal pain and every doctor until the last one sent her home saying acid reflux lose weight or you must be pregnant and not know.

      She had gallstones and one needed surgical removal because it wouldn’t pass. Sometimes people are just awful at their jobs.

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    • Tatiana Moroz OR. It’s the people who just keep coming to the ER that would dismiss this. No excuse definitely on the doctors part. There should have been an ultrasound forsure probably and especially say the second trip in. I can’t believe he said that though. That’s awful.

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    • Nope they just dismissed her with no tests whatsoever. We were all livid. Three times at three different hospitals she was dismissed.

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  16. Rachel Hart Rachel Hart says:

    In all honesty the best solution would be to have another option for middle of the night rather than the hospital. but as stated by others you don’t know another persons story so you shouldn’t judge why someone is waiting in the ER.

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  17. Yup you see frequent flyers all the time. Another misconception is that if you call for an ambulance you will be seen faster. No. You get triaged just like the rest. However, you then take away from mine and my partners time to attend to actual emergencies because we cannot abandon care until we can hand off to the proper care.

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  18. Marie says:

    Good post OP ~

    What aggravates me to no end in hospital ER, is to see precious space & time taken up, occupied by the ‘self inducers’;

    The drug addicts … the derelicts that smell to high heaven … the parent who brought in their child for something rather insignificant that they could have dealt with at home easily enough on their own ….

    I have seen this more than once and watched where those coming in needing immediate attention and care (life threatening / time sensitive ) have been made to wait longer, while the self-inducers “and when I say self-inducers, I point to those “repeat offenders” back in ER again and again – Hosp. staff know them by their first name

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  19. Cindy Dato Cindy Dato says:

    I worked at the U of A hospital in the Emergency for 11 years. I remember one year at Christmas time the ER was nuts. We were full, paramedics waiting with their patients, waiting for a bed. I had a girl come up to me, she was already waiting 3 hours to get in. I asked her what she is waiting for, and she should me her cut. A cut? She was waiting 3 hours to see a Dr. for her cut. I gave her a bandaid and told her to go to a medical center. I still work at the U of A hospital but not in Emergency. And everyday we still see patients who abuse the system. You would have to peel me off the floor, before I would go into the ER!

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  20. Thank you! Finally someone with clear knowledge speaks up. I had a bowel blockage, was puking up bowel and stomach contents exorcist style for over half hr straight, and random times over the course of a couple days. I literally lost 30 lbs from throwing up so much (I waited to go since I just thought I had a flu). I didn’t want to take up a bed for a stomach flu! I was malnourished Had a ct scan which confirmed the knot in my bowel and sent back to the waiting room. I had to get tubes down my throat and emerg 5 and half hr surgery. I waited 7 hrs to get a bed to get me in and admitted at the U of A hospital. I ended up having to be in the trauma ward for a couple weeks. Oh and I didn’t call an ambulance!

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  21. EMS folks need a raise, while we’re on the topic.

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  22. Amanda Nic Amanda Nic says:

    We had to take our little one in a few weeks ago, he is in a wheelchair and not verbal, he was in excruiating pains and just came home a week prior from a surgery whwre they put instrumentation in his neck to help it stay straight as it can be due to scoliosis
    Well the stollery was PACKED with kids who had sniffles. Kids that were literally running around laughing, we waited 4 fucken hours, watched all these families witg children with sniffles literally go in and 30 min later they are walking out
    Well once our son went in it was determined that one of the screws dislodged from his SPINE his flippen spine and was pinching a nerve we had to go in for emergency surgery.
    So imagine parents that you take your child in for simple running nose and coughing with no fevers, it was your children that had us waiting in the waiting room for 4 hours with a child crying in absolute and true pain.

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  23. Too many people use ERs as walk in clinics!

    Also some hospitals do not have enough staff. Was in an ER with someone who had several pulmonary emboli and was on Heparin shots. Standing room only in a filthy ER. A child threw up while waiting in line and was NOT cleaned up. A woman walked over and put a paper towel over the spot. ONE nurse, only ONE nurse doing triage. The 2nd nurse covered ambulances and helped when she could. I absolutely abhor AHS. They make sure the higher ups get huge salaries and termination payouts. It is DISGRACEFUL that our health care is so poor.

    And WARDS???? MIXED SEX WARDS??????

    FOR SHAME AHS!!!

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    • They have woman only men only wards besides the labour ward? It’s not 1950

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    • Actually if you check Google, the president of the Royal Alex addressed the mixed wards situation in that hospital, Crystal Boisvert

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    • Marie says:

      Viviane … You hit the nail on the head in more ways than one. I’m with you!

      It’s ‘all business’ !!! AHS is ALL Business! and disgraceful in many ways and abhorrent in others … filthy unsanitary germ infested … etc., etc., etc. Proper clean health care is secondary … ooouuu I gotta bite my tongue right about now.

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  24. When you go to emergency, there is a nurse you see right away, who asks why you are there, and takes your blood pressure. If someone comes in with a cold or something considered minor that could have been taken care of by a regular doctor, shouldn’t they be told it is not an emergency, and if they insist on staying, they must wait in priority order??

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  25. Common sense, after all, is not that common. Thank you for what you do!

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  26. Amanda Colp Amanda Colp says:

    Er r for emergencies go to a clinic if ur dying laybor or major harm. Or babies that r very sick. I remeber when i had a miscarried. I was in extreme pain and bleeding lots where only had t paper And even felt faint. I had to lay in the witing room chairs and ladies where walking around sticking there nose in everyones business. If ur good enough to walk around acting fine u dont need to be in the er…. out of all of the people there only a hanful of them seem to actually need it. Go to a danm clinic…

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  27. Even if the hospital charged like $50 for an emergency visit you’d see all these degenerates wait for the GP to open up the next day.

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    • That causes all sorts of problems. What about someone who can’t afford the $50? Turn them away?

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    • How does that cause all sorts of problems as you put it? What about when we had to pay for healthcare 10 years ago and now we don’t? People can afford to pay for an emergency visit.

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    • The starting date was July 1, 1968, and the Act provided that the federal government would pay about half of Medicare costs in any province with insurance plans that met the criteria of being universal, publicly administered, portable and comprehensive.Jul 3, 2012

      What in gods name are u talking about

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    • We had to maybe pay a tiny portion

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    • Also it would cause problems similar to how dying people get turned away at hospitals for not having the cash like the states

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    • Clinton Clarkson you probably were still sitting in your dad’s sack when Albertan’s still had to pay a yearly healthcare premium.

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    • You know how may er visits I made in three years with my daughter who needed it? You think a 1 income household could afford 50 weekly if lucky! I couldn’t work because of how often my child had to go in. You walking in might have liked at my funny because it didn’t look like we needed it but we had four hours from the first hint of a fever 37.5°F to get to emerg and get iv antibiotics going or we would loose my daughter. Think before you damn well speak.

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    • Obviously there would be circumstance that would not require a payment every time you want. People with clinical, terminal and emergency illness are already using the ER for their intended service.

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    • So who gets to decide who gets to pay and who doesn’t? My daughter had a seizure and I called 911 because I didn’t know what else to do. Turns out it’s a pretty common thing and she only had a virus (only in the ER for sniffles). But with nowhere else to take her, I knew she had to be looked at. People don’t just decide to sit in ER for nothing. Most reasonable people use medi Centre’s. But now you’re suggesting a way to “punish” people for using the ER unless their dying?

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    • You’re wrong because most sensible people using the medi centers does not solve a backed up ER and that’s the point of the post(I think you missed it). Are you saying you know more as to who is and who is not in the ERs as the people who work in the medical field? You clearly think you do.

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    • Dude im probably older then you you twat. Oh so who justifys what classifies as non chargeable? What about undiagnosed respiratory issues or heart problems? U think you have it all figured out but your a monkey who cant see all the problems. The real fix would be bursaries to push more people into medical fields maybe with special new scholarships into the medical field. Try to gear more people into it. The big problem is shortage of trained people. I guarantee there are smart enough people to be doctors that just couldnt afford it. More doctors per person and the problem will start to solve it self.
      Everyone has different levels of pain tolerance. Some people jam there finger and cant work. Some people have a heart attack and try to work it off. Your idea tho idealistic and nice on paper is foolhardy and full of problems. Also your last comment is almost gibberish. Have another its like 1130 for fuck sakes.

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    • If I could draw you a picture to help you understand Clinton, I would. Sorry, there is no hope for you. You couldn’t even remember the fact that we used to pay a yearly healthcare fee. Who’s the dumbass?

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