Sunday, December 2, 2007

Blame it on the ER

I was home Friday (I hurt myself and need surgery). After having five abdominal surgeries in six months last year I think I have a little PTSD...but enough about me. This post is about something else. As I said, I was home Friday...flipping through the channels, and what do I see, my little town on CNN...then MSNBC... Hey, maybe that is why I keep hearing helicopters overhead and sirens screaming. One of our local psych/etoh'ers decided it would be a great idea to take a few hostages at the Hillary Clinton campaign office. Well, most people know that ended with him releasing his hostages and surrendering peacefully.

Today the local paper had his 'story'. His family claims he came into the ER and wanted help for his psych problems and we sent him away since he had no insurance or money. This is absolutely NOT TRUE. But, they are making our little, non-profit hospital out to be this horrible institution that sends psych patients away without treatment. I cannot discuss this patient, of course. But, as anyone familiar with EMTALA knows, ALL patients are given a medical screening when they present to the ER. Typically psych patients are screened to make sure it's not a medical problem then we call in emergency services and they determine the appropriate dispensation of said patient. If it is a drug/etoh problem we refer them to the drug rehab and other services in the area.

This morning I worked in the ER and I can't count the number of calls we got from people letting us know how horrible we are for not treating this poor guy. Of course we transfer the calls to the nursing supervisor so she can handle it. It's terrible that the newspapers aren't more responsible in their reporting and checking facts. The hospital hasn't released a statement yet, but I hope they do. People like to point fingers when something like that happens, and right now the fingers are pointing at us...and I don't like it!