The healthcare system in the US may not be the ideal system - let's face it...is there such a thing as a perfect one? From an ex-emergency dept nurse I can tell you there are about a million things that need fixing! However, if you came to my ED and were complaining of chest pain and especially if you had just recently failed a stress test (leaving out a bunch of factors here) I do believe that you'd be triaged in appropriately and that we'd have you back, EKG done, on a cardiac monitor with O2 on and nitro at the bedside. You'd probably already even had your aspirin before the ED doc made it in to see you. Now, if all your tests were inconclusive i.e. no acute EKG changes, enzymes were negative etc you'd probably still get admitted for serial enzymes and maybe you'd even get a diagnostic cath and/or an echo ('cuz you failed that stress test).
Contrast that to showing up at an ED complaining of chest pain and then literally waiting 8 hours before the doc even sees you! Your hospital doesn't do caths so you have to be transported to another facility. But wait....there's a waiting list for caths and heaven forbid you're actually having a cardiac event. I guess they don't measure door to PCI times up in Canada. So you're stuck in the ED because the hospital is capped. Because there is only one hospital to serve a city of almost a quarter of a million people. You're stuck because the can't send you home (your blood pressure is swinging crazily back and forth - diastolic anywhere from 80-120) and they have to wait until there's availability in the cath lab in another city so they can get you there.
I have to shake my head. I think there are many things wrong with the healthcare system here in the US but in comparision to the scenario I described above I think we're doing pretty darn well!!
6 days ago