November 05, 2015
Gloria Faye Brown Bates
Louisburg, NC 27536
Re: Emergency Room Visit
November 03, 2015
Dear CEO //////////////////:
I came to your emergency room on November 3, 2015, Tuesday evening. I came there having severe chest pain.
I am alone, no family excepting my husband, Stafford. He was in Maryland that particular evening so, I had to come alone. I didn’t want to call the rescue because I was worrying if it was ‘my imagination’ … or a real heart attack. I didn’t want to bother anyone no more than I possibly had to.
When I arrived at your facility, I came in limping as I was in a serious fall earlier this month breaking my knee cap, and also … a spiral fracture in my fibula bone.
I went straight to the window ( I used to work in Emergency Registration years ago) telling the clerk that I didn’t know why my chest was hurting so badly but, I do have a history of congestive heart failure. I almost died.
I told her I had been coughing but, not a lot. This is what happened to me when I went into congestive heart failure in the past, went unconcious and woke up just before being intubated.
I ‘was afraid it was my imagination’ at that time, and hated to get my husband out of bed to get me to the hospital. We barely made it the rescue building. I was afraid this time … and to leave my home at that time of evening alone … something was wrong with me.
These things were going on in my mind while I drove myself. I had my bluetooth device on so, my husband could stay on the phone with me as I drove. He would know where I was ‘in case something happened’. I was crying … I was hurting more than I can describe in words.
I was taken to the triage room where the nurse began talking to me. Two nurses were talking to me. I even told them I knew they were busy and I didn’t know why my chest was hurting so badly … I didn’t want to take up their time … but, I had to come there. I was afraid of dying alone … no one there to help me.
I told them I had a history of congestive heart failure. I didn’t know if I should come, not come … it might not be anything. But … something was causing severe pain.
I told them I was alone, my husband in Maryland. I had no family to call.
The nurse asked me questions as she did the EKG. She said something that made me know she thought I could be coming there for pain medicine. I quickly told her I wasn’t a ‘regular’ who always come to the hospital for pain drugs. She said ‘so, you know about them, too”. I said yes, I used to work in the emergency room.
After the EKG … she showed it to the nurse saying, “see there”. It didn’t show anything wrong with my heart … so, they were thinking I came for pain medication. They kept me out in the waiting room with many sick people, one vomiting … the others coughing.
I have a compromised immune system … I have been in the hospital many times for pneumonia. I was afraid to be right in the midst of all the sick people.
I was smelling an awful smell, telling my husband whom I was talking to. It smelled like a ‘dumpster’. I told my husband it was making me sick. I happened to turn around (they put me in a wheel chair), and a woman was putting a plastic bag of vomit in the trash can. She began walking around holding the ‘vomit bag’.
I was taken in to get blood work, brought back out to sit, wait. Then … taken to get chest x-rays, brought back out to sit, wait in the waiting area.
After about 3 hours … my chest had eased off from the pain … I went up to the ER Registration clerk, asked her when would a doctor see me. She told me some of the people had been there 6 hours, and it possible I’d be there that long. I asked to go find out, she just went back to her desk.
I told her through the glass … that my chest had quit hurting, and I was going to drive myself home … it had become dark, and I was nervous being alone going home.
She didn’t care whether I signed the AMA form or not. I didn’t sign it. She also, said I could call Medical Records in two-three days to get my medical records in order to know the results of my tests.
I left. I never saw a doctor during those 3 hours. I sat in the waiting area with many sick adults, and children. No one checked on me while I was hurting. It was like no one noticed.
I’ve had to be in the hospital many times through the years. I’ve never felt so … uncared about. No one was concerned. The thought came into my mind … suppose this is how it’s going to begin being in the future. People will die … no one cares. Thinking to that night disturbs me, scares me.
Just to let you know, I have a problem taking pain medicines … I respect them, and am afraid of them. Everyone who knows me … knows this. I write a blog about this … in fact … the ‘whole world’ knows I can’t easily take pain medicine.
I am a cancer survivor (two thoracotomy surgeries, have thoracotomy syndrome meaning I am always in pain every day of my life. I still can’t take pain medicine easily. I’m sure you wonder why. Because I grew up in such things, drinking and drugging. I’m afraid of it … as a child I knew I’d never grow up being addicted to drugs, alcohol.
This has caused me to get into trouble with pain. It makes it hard to control any pain I have … I let it go too far. This is to let you know I don’t take drugs … I didn’t come to your hospital seeking drugs. I was afraid, I was hurting badly … I didn’t know if it was my heart or … something else going on.
November 04, 2015, I went to my primary doctor and told him how I was treated, and being left out in the waiting area with chest pain, never seeing a doctor. He and his nurse were concerned.
I’m happy to say they did an EKG, finding out my heart was okay. I have an upper respiratory infection. My doctor knows I never take medicines anymore than I possibly need … especially … pain medicine.
I wanted to write you, let you know my experience at your hospital … a hospital I always had affection for … I was born in //////// ////////// Hospital ‘many’ years ago. I’m afraid now.
I’m not complaining at all, I just wanted to voice to someone there that mattered … being you. I wanted you to know what happened. I don’t care about trying to get someone in trouble. I just wanted to simply tell you what happened.
I know my letter is a little lengthy … but, in this case it had to be. Thank you for listening to me.
Gloria Faye Brown Bates
cc: File Cabinet/folder
Note by this Author:
This really happened to me recently … and it’s really scary looking at that visit in my mind. Suppose all hospitals began worrying someone is there to get drugs … and not taking the patient seriously … leave them in the waiting area to die.
It’s sobering to think about this. No one would have made me believe a person would be treated like this at this particular hospital … the one I was born at many years ago … always proud to say I was.
Now … I’ll have to tell this story along with saying I was born there. Suppose … something had been seriously wrong with my heart … I have no comfort in thinking they’d let me see a doctor. They didn’t when I felt I … was having a heart attack. Scary.
I wrote my letter to the CEO not to get anyone in trouble, but to tell him what happened. I don’t care whether I ever hear back from him. An apology isn’t what I want … it doesn’t make me feel any better about what happened. I simply just want someone who matters there … to know.
Photo, true account owned/written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.