Somerset Hospital Experience

So about 2 weeks ago I had to go to Somerset Hospital emergency room for a potential broken arm.

I arrived at about 4PM. Was sent to triage which involves nothing more than a check of blood pressure, pulse and temperature.
Now it’s interesting to note how all over there are memo’s stating that patients who are waiting are to be triage and checked on every 2hrs…

Showed the nurse my big, blue, swollen arm…got told to wait. Ok, no problem.

Took my seat and started taking in my surroundings and other patients that are with me in this emergency room.

3 old ladies:
Two of them in wheelchairs.
One who is mobile has fallen an half her face is the colour of grape juice. She clearly suffers from some form of either senility, dementia or onset altzheimers.
That or her head injury is causing these symptoms. I started chatting to the nursing home aide who was with her and found out they’d been there since 10am…
The other to elderly ladies in wheelchairs have also been there since early morning…they have a cold or the flu.

Next there’s a lady with a broken finger. She’s been there since 11am. Now I’m getting worried. If she’s been waiting 6hrs just for someone to look at a broken finger, how long am I going to sit here with my arm? She finally got seen to at about 6:30PM.

Another old couple came in when I did. She’d been diagnosed with an ulcer about two weeks before. Her husband had now insisted they come in as she was in such discomfort she didn’t want to walk and hadn’t eaten in 4 days because nothing would stay down. Now one would think she’d be seen soon….nope…

There were other people sitting there who had nothing wrong except the flu or a cold. Some of them waiting 12hrs to be seen. Some who waited 12hrs while having their small children with them because there’s nowhere else to leave the child.

Oh and let’s not forget the man having a chest x-ray done also hours after sitting in the waiting room….his chest was fine except for the clouds showing and his coughing…can anyone spot the TB symptoms? Now again, there are memos that state all suspected TB cases need to be isolated from other patients waiting. Yeah….nope.

I finally saw a doctor just after midnight. (those to lazy to do the math its 8hrs later).

In 8hrs I observed a lot.
Example: broken finger lady could’ve been sorted by a paramedic. (tape fingers together and done) Must admit I was tempted to steal the office cellotape and do it myself.

All those people sitting for so many hours when all they need is antibiotics for the flu: Get a trained sister. Last I checked, they’re allowed to write prescriptions.

The triage system is a joke. Nobody checked on anybody. Even though memo’s on the wall state to check every 2hrs in case it gets worse.

And why else do I think the triage is a joke? Because when I arrived at 4PM there was a man who’d been there since 9am with chest pain. It took his wife at 5PM when she got there after work and is a nurse, as well as patients to explain to staff that this man may have had a minor heart attack and is very lucky that in the 8hrs he sat there, didn’t have a massive one that could’ve killed him!

Why are people with common colds and flu in the emergency room to begin with?
Instead of having a nurse do the triage why not let a medical student or doctor do it. Then triage could include listening to the chest as well as a throat check. All of which would point out flu! Quick med script and flu patients are in and out. Have a sister on hand because as mentioned before, they can write scripts too.
Also if a doctor or med student did the triage then maybe someone who had a minor heart attack wouldn’t have to wait 8hrs for a doctor all the while fearing if he’s going to drop dead any second from a massive one.

I’m not a medical person. However I am very good at organizing at setting things into place. Why? Because I work in the hospitality industry and working under pressure while organizing to make things run smoothly and efficiently is what we do. It also means that I know how to talk to people. I found out a few things in the 8hrs I was there. Most of which I probably should not know. But let’s save that for next time. 😉

I reckon if I ever need emergency room again (let’s hope never)I’ll give Groote Schuur a try and see how they’re organised.


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