How to not piss off ED staff

After the second time in two years visiting the ED for very legitimate complaints, and being treated absolutely marvelously, I’d like to offer you a primer for surviving your ED visit without being asked to leave or escorted out by security.

  1. Don’t go to the ED for bullshit, e.g. herpes, migraines, ‘flu, pregnancy test, anxiety attack, cut finger, med refill, etc.
  2. Be polite.
  3. Don’t complain that the wait is too long. (See #1.)
  4. Say “please” and “thank you.” (Did we mention that already?)
  5. Don’t insist that you “need something for pain.”
  6. Don’t start a fight anywhere on hospital property.
  7. Don’t bring weapons.
  8. Or drugs.
  9. Don’t fail to even make the slightest effort to be at least a marginal historian.
  10. Don’t forget that there are always people who are sicker than you. (See #1.)
  11. Don’t bring your entire family unless you’re about to die. (See #1.)
  12. Don’t be upset if you get thrown into the waiting room even if you took an ambulance out of service for your bullshit. (See #1.)
  13. Don’t be upset when you get called out on your bullshit.
  14. Don’t pee on the floor.
  15. Don’t poop on the floor.
  16. Don’t vomit on the floor.
  17. Don’t demand stuff if you’re a freeloader.
  18. Don’t go back to the ED until you go to your follow-ups.

4 thoughts on “How to not piss off ED staff”

  1. #1 – regarding migraines

    Although I do understand that there ARE prople out there that come to the ED just for drugs, keep in mind that migraines are a real problem! When it’s a weekend, DRs offices are closed. A patient in extreme pain, vomiting, etc… needs medical assistance. It is annoying when people with migraines are judged as drug addicts or just someone with a HA.

  2. Re #1 – I agree with “Annoyed” that migraines can be a legitimate reason to go to the ER. My neurologist has even advised that I *should* go to the ER for persistent pain because there is only so much that she can do from an office setting. My orders are to try 3 different migraine medications (each is to be taken 30 minutes apart) and if they all fail, try Vicodin (I have a small quantity as “rescue medication”) and if that fails, after 4 hours go to the ER. That means that by the time I reach the ER, my migraine is worsening and I’ve been suffering for 5+ hours.

    Although, my note back to the ER staff would be 1) don’t treat all migraine sufferers like addicts and 2) don’t treat all migraine attacks as a stroke. My local hospital prefers #2 so the (fortunately few) times that I have been, I get a CT and an MRI and then they say “oh it’s just a migraine, here’s some pain medication” (my experience was morphine into the arm – which feels like being burned through your veins. It’s really terrible and I avoid the ER as much as I can to avoid it). There are also some very effective non-narcotic treatments for migraine (including steroids) that doctors could try. This would also help separate the seekers from the sufferers. Someone looking for pain killers isn’t going to be happy with steroids.

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