Oh man... Our ER is so underfunded it is stupid. Ridiculously stupid.
On Thursday night, my almost 3 year old son fell off his chair (while reaching for something on the floor) and hit his head on the caster of the computer chair. Big open gouge. Clearly needing stitches. So Mr.FCS and I took him to the ER (it was after the clinics closed). Bleh.
When we got there, there was no one in the waiting room up front. Good sign, I thought. Not so much. Apparently they changed things since the last time I was there, and there's another waiting room near the curtains area. So after we checked in, we were given the chart and told to follow the dots back to the other waiting room. What a hole. Holy shit. It was a 12'x12' room with 14 chairs crammed into it. I would have taken pictures if it wouldn't have been a breech of everyone else's privacy. It was an area clearly converted from more curtained areas. i.e. there were medical things on the wall (outlets, jacks, etc) and the ceiling still had the curtain rods. The chairs were seriously uncomfortable, and there was no TV. There weren't even enough magazines to go around. There were signs on the wall saying patients had first dibs on the chairs! The floors were absolutely filthy.
Oh, and speaking of filthy... The germs. OMG the germs. They had the trauma patients sitting with the people with the flu, norwalk virus, etc. So there's my son with a huge open wound, sitting next to a kid who's coughing up a lung every two minutes. That's safe. And then, there's the puking kid. This poor kid barfed up bile all over the place. His Mom went to get someone to clean it up. Said someone handed her a towel and wash cloth and then left. No one came to clean it. No soap was offered. No antiseptic. No lysol. Nothing. GROSS. And they wonder why hospitals are the worst place for getting sick! And it's not like we weren't there long enough to know.
And time. Yes, this was fun. We arrived at 11:20pm. We left at 2:20am. For 5 minutes of stitching. Which we had to hold him down for. No nurse to help.
Now, all of this would have been sorta tolerable had the doctor done a decent job. But no. He didn't tighten one of the stitches, and I had to take my son to the walk in clinic to get it fixed because 36 hours later it was still bleeding. The doctor there glued it shut, and changed the dressing.
My suggestions for a better ER experience:
1) Two waiting rooms. One for sickness, one for trauma.
2) Better chairs. OMG. If you're going to make someone sit for hours on end, give them decent chairs. This would not be a huge investement.
3) Entertainment for the kids. A TV with cartoons would be a good start. There were 5 kids in that waiting room, and absolutely no toys. There were 3 kids' books.
4) A room for drunks. With security.
5) Someone to get the quick fixes done quickly. Say a nurse practitioner, or a doctor on call for quick fixes. Like the stitches for my kid, the kid next to us who just needed an x-ray, the kid on the other side of us who had an ear infection. I mean, just look at it, and send 'em for what they need. How hard is that?