‘I am disturbed’: I spent 8 hours in the ER @PiedmontHealth with flu-like symptoms; this country ain’t ready to handle Coronavirus
This nation is going to hell in a handbasket with a handkerchief in hand coughing, sneezing and wheezing from the Coronavirus and anything else because our healthcare system is truly crap and I’m sick of the lies.
As Trump sat before the nation on Wednesday, reading a teleprompter like a toddler who just mastered his Hooked on Phonics lesson, there were real human beings on the other end of the screen who were, and still are, truly worried about what’s to come with the worldwide pandemic caused by the fast traveling Coronavirus aka COVID-19. And his words did nothing to smooth over the dumpster fire of lies he had already ignited about its progression.
We are being fed a mix of lies about how the US and healthcare providers are handling the situation with precision and caution and we’re being told a bevy of lies about the alleged resources that will be at our disposal to combat the further spread of this disease. Don’t believe the hype. Our healthcare facilities are ill-equipped.
The truth is, America at least, is NOT getting their act together as evidenced by my 8 hour stint in the emergency room at a reputable hospital in Henry County Georgia – Piedmont Henry Hospital – where I spent those countless hours in utter turmoil trying to get seen by a doctor but never did within that timeframe. Let me explain.
On Wednesday March 12, I really started getting sick to the point where my chest felt really tight, and it became very hard for me to breathe. I had chills and I still do and all signs were pointing to me perhaps having the flu. The last thing I ever want to do is hit up the ER unless it’s an emergency. Well I surely felt like flu-like symptoms qualified and was worthy of an emergency room visit, especially given that there is a deep concern that Coronavirus is spreading rapidly and it’s a global health emergency and a concerning growing crisis.
Also in the past week I had been talking to a lot of people and who knows what I could have. Let’s be clear even our beloved Tom Hanks and his wife Rita have fallen victim to this virus and tested positive. Also several politicians and athletes have tested positive too. There have been 120,000 cases according to the World Health Organization and 19 states have declared a state of emergency.
So, with all signs pointing to everyone taking lots of precautions with preventative measures so they won’t catch COVID-19, I too wanted to be proactive and so I headed to the ER.
But sadly enough, my experience at Piedmont Henry Hospital was nothing less than traumatic and I left in tears and dismayed and very disturbed. I felt like I was in a third world country waiting in the waiting room for HOURS with so many others who were sick and at their wit’s end just trying to get much-needed help.
Clearly the load was too much for Piedmont Henry to bear. They couldn’t handle a load of “regular” sick folks so I’m sure they are nowhere near ready to treat Coronavirus patients. Schools are closing. Large gatherings are being cancelled. The worst has yet to come.
Now as I’m sitting here, I just heard Dr. Jennifer Ashton from Good Morning America say that people should go to an ER if they feel like they are having concerning symptoms. Well what happens if you go and can’t get help? That’s my reality.
The lies began in the ER after I was sent to triage and checked out to see just how sick I was and how I would rank. I thought the fact that my blood pressure was elevated and I had chills and I had a hard time breathing, I would rank high enough to be seen within a decent amount of time. But apparently not.
So I sat in the emergency room and waited and I at least expected to wait 3 maybe 4 hours but never thought I would literally be there for a whole work day basically. Yes it was crowded but no it was not an 8-hour wait-type crowded! That’s insane. The worst hospitals in the country will get you in and out faster than that!
As I sat there, I grew more upset as time passed on. I was hurting and couldn’t get help.
To my left, I literally watched a deathly ill man vomit into several blue bags for hours. Listen, I didn’t even think the human body could possibly expel that much liquid for so long. It was a sight to see as he just threw up again and again and again and again. The man was clearly in an emergency situation but he sat FOR HOURS throwing up! Heck, he could have had Coronavirus! But it was of NO concern to the hospital staff. None of us were any concern to them.
It got so bad that the sick man laid on the floor because he could no longer sit straight up in a wheelchair. Then the staff ran over to get the poor man off the floor. He looked absolutely exhausted and weary and weak. At that point I took a picture of the staff helping him up but I was sure not to photograph his face.
This is unacceptable. The man sat in an AMERICAN EMERGENCY ROOM, vomited for HOURS and STILL COULD NOT GET HELP! So how can Piedmont Henry justify that? Piedmont Henry could not service a man throwing up for hours in their emergency room, so how in the world will they be able to handle a global health crisis?
They won’t and they can’t.
Then to my right there was a man and a woman. The woman told me that the man’s blood sugar was 400! (It should never go above 150!) That is an extremely dangerous level. The man was crying and crying and crying and holding his stomach and yet he too sat for HOURS without help. Finally, a nurse came and told him his bloodwork came back with elevated levels so they finally put him on fluids.
The other man to my left, however, was still vomiting a river of bloody liquids into a blue bag. There was no room at the Inn for any of us.
As the night went on and on and on, I went to the nurses station and asked a NUMBER of times when I would be seen.
“Oh you’re next!” Is the constant lie I was told. But as I peered through the glass panes on the wooden doors, I could see that the side I was going on was pretty empty and had no movement. That was the so-called “Fast Track” where I was supposed to be in and out. The triage nurse told me she put me there so I could get out fast. Lies, because it was slow as hell.
Yet on the other side, of the nurse’s station, there WAS ONE doctor taking patients and the triage nurse somehow messed up because she could have put me over on that side, but she thought I would move faster on the fast track side, but apparently, the nurse practitioner went home. Remember, I had been there since 10p.m.
So basically, I waited from 10p.m. to almost 6 am the NEXT day. Then they had the NERVE to tell me I had to wait for the nurse practitioner to come to work and start her shift.
I talked to the Charge nurse Reagan to get answers on why I was waiting so long and she told me that it was because they had “limited” room. She explained that she hates that I was waiting so long, especially in pain, but basically, she explained that’s how things are ALL THE TIME. This hospital literally has 10 to 12 hour wait times, she said. It’s a regular occurrence.
So let me get this straight, this hospital is understaffed and the nurses are bearing the brunt of the load and dealing with juggling so many roles without the much-needed help to make things run a lot more smoothly.
Piedmont Henry failed me and the emergency room patients on a number of fronts. First of all for the man who kept vomiting, he should have been placed in an isolated room according to what Piedmont Henry has on their website:
“Are patients and visitors at your hospital safe? Is it safe to come to a scheduled appointment?
Yes, it is safe. When a patient with an infectious disease presents at any Piedmont location, we have the staff, facilities, and proper processes and protocols in place to take care of them and keep everyone safe (other patients, visitors, staff members and volunteers). If needed, each Piedmont facility has rooms that isolate infectious patients and feature ventilation systems that do not allow the exchange of air with other areas of the hospital. Our staff has all of the personal protection equipment and the necessary training to care for all of our patients, regardless of their ailment. There is no need to cancel or reschedule an appointment. If you have a question or concern, call the department you have an appointment with to discuss your care plan.”
The man was just about coughing up a lung and spitting out so much red bloody fluid into a bag. I don’t know what he had but he walked past me several times. That doesn’t seem very safe to me and the Piedmont Henry staff FAILED to put him in a room. Because remember, one of their nurses Reagan said the space was “limited.”
By the time I was finally called back to the room to be seen, a little before 6am, I was tired and upset and decided that I would leave because I was told too many times that the wait wouldn’t be long and then 8 hours passed. Also the nurse practitioner STILL was not there.
Then a Black male nurse came in and tried to talk down to me and dispel what I was telling him about my experience and that was very concerning. What I hate is when you try to offer facts to someone and they try to respond by saying, “I don’t want to argue.” I kept explaining that I wasn’t “arguing” I was stating facts. I hate when people try to twist the narrative. I was always calm, and never raised my voice because that is ALWAYS the narrative they want to paint for Black women. I am far too intelligent to have to scream and yell. I had a very civil conversation with Reagan and told her it was unfair that I had to endure an 8-hour wait and I felt no one was being upfront about what was occurring.
That hospital is in shambles, the staff is tired, they can’t handle the ER load, there is no room for patients and there aren’t enough doctors and nurse practitioners on staff to make a difference and serve their community.
If this is what it’s like, the US needs to brace itself for a major downfall because clearly healthcare facilities WON’T be able to handle what’s to come with the Coronavirus.
I decided to leave and I took a chest x-ray and still do not know what those results are. I plan on fighting the billing charges that will come as a result of the time I did spend there because I should not have to pay when I did not get proper treatment because of their understaffing.
I am deeply disappointed and hurt because there is no trust in a system that we rely on at the most critical times and fall short on the cusp of my life possibly being cut short.
I demand that Piedmont do better and be more than talk and actually implement sweeping charges to better serve people in the community. Someone should have CARED ENOUGH ABOUT ME TO ENSURE THAT THE DOCTOR ON STAFF AT LEAST EVALUATED ME. What happened to putting patients first? But it was easier to get rid of me and lessen their problems. What a nightmare.