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Emergency Rooms Are No Place for the Elderly


Health & Wellness  (tags: health, hospitals, Emergency room, treatment, risks, illness, disease, medicine, prevention, protection, warning )

Dee
- 187 days ago - well.blogs.nytimes.com
The elderly man lived alone in an apartment complex not far from the hospital. A younger neighbor, who'd watched him hobble down the building's stairwell for nearly a week insisted on taking him to the emergency room.



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Comments

Dee C. (214)
Saturday March 15, 2014, 7:50 am
Doctors there immediately diagnosed an infection in his painful toe and prescribed antibiotics for him to take at home.

But they also advised the man to be sure to take his diabetes medicine, since the infection could elevate his blood sugar to dangerous levels. And as the surgical consultant, I urged him to keep his foot up, check the toe once a day and come to our vascular surgery clinic in a week to make sure the infection was clearing up. He needed close follow-up to prevent serious complications, even the loss of his foot.

“Of course, if things get worse before the week’s up,” I said, raising my voice to be heard over the clatter beyond the makeshift curtain walls of the E.R. examining room, “come back here right away.”

Under the glaring fluorescent lights, there was no mistaking the blank look that passed over the man’s face. He was overwhelmed.

But so was the emergency room.

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Angelica C. (84)
Saturday March 15, 2014, 11:02 am
It seems to me that a hospital's social workers should start seeing patients before they are admitted - in the ER. And this is especially true if they are elderly or can't speak English.
 

Stardust Noel (52)
Saturday March 15, 2014, 1:52 pm
Thank you.
 

Penny C. (79)
Saturday March 15, 2014, 2:40 pm
Thanks Dee.
 

Tanya Selth (0)
Saturday March 15, 2014, 10:10 pm
They also are no place either for those who have severe chronic illnesses. I tend to end up collapsed on the floor every time I have to go to the emergency (they suddenly pay me attention at that point and rush me elsewhere) as they do not triage for severe chronic illnesses. I have postural orthostatic tachycardia so cant be left upright too long, so sick to have a long wait in a waiting room without a collapse. They just consider whatever you've been brought in for and not already your current health and condition with other things you may also have.

Due to the above I avoid hospitals even when Im very sick (I was coughing blood a couple of months ago. Felt worst then when I was in hospital for a week with double pneuomina) but still didnt go to hospital as I couldnt bear the thought of having to wait in that waiting room until I was collapsed on the floor
 

John S. (303)
Sunday March 16, 2014, 11:45 am
Noted.
 

Kathleen R. (138)
Sunday March 16, 2014, 1:06 pm
A good article ... thanks. @Tanya Seth ... wish you all the best with your health.
 

Birgit W. (144)
Sunday March 16, 2014, 2:42 pm
When I am watching my nearly 90 year old mother, I am starting to get afraid of getting older. They are weak, ill, and helpless, and don't know how to help themselves. Not everybody of those elderly people have relatives looking after them, and I honestly do not know how they can survive.
 

marie c. (168)
Sunday March 16, 2014, 7:31 pm
This is so distressing
I think UK has a lot to be thankful for in comparison to the USA
Of course things could always be better
Tanya I find your comment heartbreaking please go to hospital with any dreadful problem
I will pray for you
 

Colleen L. (2)
Sunday March 16, 2014, 11:58 pm
Good article. I dread ever having an emergency happen to where I'd have to go to ER. or get admitted to the hospital. Thanks Dee
 

Angela J. (62)
Tuesday March 18, 2014, 9:45 pm
Thank you.
 
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