Monday, March 16, 2009

The emergency ward

I had occasion to spend some time in the emergency ward of a downtown Wilmington Hopital. The daytime group was evidently made up of persons who consider this service a substitute for making an appointment with a regular doctor, and don't mind wasting three hours waiting to be seen, mostly mothers, children, and old people. The medical personnel were patient, sorting out those who had true emergencies and dealing with them first, but eventually getting to everyone. It was a very patient and orderly crowd.

At night it was a different story. For one thing, there were trauma injuries, some from car accidents or bar fights. I saw one young man with a bleeding head injury that was scary looking but possibly not as bad as it looked. There was more injury in the night crowd. They were younger and tougher looking: definitely the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. They also had worse injuries and the pace had picked up. More repressed anxiety. Still a three-hour wait, though. The scene was worthy of Goya.

Coming from a New Jersey hospital in a wealthy suburban setting, I had never seen anything like this: platoons of patients. It was an eye-opener.


Steve B said...

Don't worry. It will get better once Obama's nationalized health care plan goes through.

miriam said...

I'm not sure that makes me feel better.