I would suggest that a lot of the people who read this website are doctors and nurses of one persuasion or another. I also guess that many of these readers have some experience of A&E departments (and I'm glancing sideways
at 're-minisce' here, for he signed up for a double sentence in one of those windowless boxes of suffering).
So as an EMT I wish to apologise.
I'm sorry that throughout the shift I will continue to bring fresh meat to the grinder, that is I will be forced to transport patients from 'outside' into your department, where they will need to be looked after and assessed by your own good selves.
I'm sorry that I have to sometimes bring their relatives who will harass you about waiting times, the pain their relative is in and about why you are drinking that cup of coffee while their dearly beloved is 'at death's door'. I'm also sorry that sometimes I couldn't bring the only relative who can translate the patients' moaning and groaning into English, thus making assessment a thousand times easier.
I'm sorry for the dross that I bring to you – the cut fingers, the bellyaches and the spotty backs. I'm sorry that the Primary Health-care workers (the GP's) are often so useless as to be a liability. I'm sorry that you have to cope with the fallout that because there are so few good GPs you have to become the first point of call for coughs, colds and diarrhoea
I'm sorry that the schools don't teach basic health and first aid to their students, preferring to waste time on the history of glaciers or the solving of quadratic equations. This means that the population wouldn't know the difference between a minor cut and an arterial spurt if it jumped up and hit them over the head with a hammer, nor which of these two warrants a trip to the local Emergency Department.
I'm sorry that our communities where our Elders teach our Youngsters and the Youngster listen no longer exists – thus resulting an influx of first time mothers who think that when a baby vomits it is a precursor of death.
I'm sorry that the protocols and guidelines that we adhere to don't allow us to leave patients at home. In England at least we have to transport to hospital. The government thinks that we cannot tell the difference between serious cases and the aforementioned cut finger.
I'm sorry that the police cannot look after drunks on a Friday night, they worry that they will choke to death in the cells, and so we get called – and we have nowhere else to bring them except your department. Sorry.
I'm sorry that I bring in those serious cases five minutes before your shift finishes. If it's any consolation it's probably five minutes to the end of our shift that people decide to have their heart attacks, their amputations and their dissecting aortic aneurysms. Like you this means we get off late as well.
I'm sorry, but it's not my fault.
Previously posted on The Lingual Nerve