The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

March 21, 2014

The 10 types of ER patients

You're sitting in the waiting room, icing your sore ankle. The teen-ager to your right is moaning and clutching his belly. The woman to your left is coughing into her mask. A stretcher rolls by with a man yelling at the top of his lungs. An ambulance arrives. You see paramedics performing CPR.

You wonder, with all this chaos around you, how can you make sure that your emergency room doctor will address your concerns?

Along with primary care physicians, we emergency providers are the frontlines of medical care. We see people with every imaginable issue. Some ER patients are critically ill - from trauma, heart attack, or severe infection. These patients will get seen immediately and have the full focus of ER staff. Other patients are not critically ill but still have needs that must be tended to.

As an emergency physician and patient advocate, I've met many patients who are frustrated by their medical care. I wish I could have given them advice before they came to the ER.

 I see some of the same missed opportunities and miscommunications again and again. Categorizing the clusters of difficulties can help to identify and fix the problems. Here are my suggestions for 10 types of ER patients. I don't intend to stereotype or imply that every patient falls into one of these categories. If you recognize yourself in one of these categories, you may benefit from some guidance to help us best help you.

1. The Repeat Customer. Often, ER docs will see a patient who's had headaches for 10 years or foot pain for even longer. If you have a chronic, ongoing issue, explain why today is the day you came to the ER. Help us understand why you're here. Maybe your symptoms have changed. Perhaps your sister just got diagnosed with cancer and you're worried. Please tell us the truth. If there is truly nothing new and you have a primary care physician, please consider making an appointment with her. We can take care of acute pain, but you will need someone to follow you for ongoing medical problems.

Text Only
Southeast Iowa
  • Honey Creek Resort recognized for recycling MORAVIA — Honey Creek Resort State Park on Rathbun Lake has been selected as having the best government recycling program by the Iowa Recycling Association.“Iowa’s Greenest Resort” received the award July 17 during the Iowa Recycling Association annu

    July 24, 2014

  • Mammoth photo 2 Researchers find mammoth ankle

    OSKALOOSA — Researchers at the mammoth dig site in rural Mahaska County recently found an articulated mammoth ankle — a very interesting find.“It tells us something we never knew before,” said Dave Brenzel of the Indian Creek Nature Center. The mammo

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Van Buren says bye-bye to Waste Management KEOSAUQUA — Waste Management has been charging the Van Buren Community School District an average of nearly $1,600 a month to remove waste and recycled materials from the Douds and Keosauqua centers. Now faced with a bidding process, Waste Management

    July 23, 2014

  • MINE logo.jpg Two arrested on drug charges

    The Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement drug task force executed a search warrant in Knoxville last night. A man and a woman were arrested. 

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Propane suppliers: buy ahead to avoid price spikes DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — State officials and propane suppliers are advising consumers to fill their tanks before cold weather arrives because prices could climb again this winter. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1obSe2U ) prices will

    July 23, 2014

  • Military Retiree Appreciation Day Aug. 28 near Pella A military Retiree Appreciation Day will be held Thursday, Aug. 28 at the Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino in Altoona, Iowa. Retirees from all branches of the armed forces and their family members are eligible to attend. The event will run from

    July 23, 2014

  • Report: Iowa third among states in child well-being DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new national report on the well-being of children released Tuesday ranked Iowa third in the nation, up four places from last year, the best showing for the state in 25 years. The Kids Counts report from the Annie E. Casey Fo

    July 23, 2014

  • Report: Iowa third among states in child well-being DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new national report on the well-being of children ranks Iowa third in the nation, up four places from last year. The Kids Counts report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation says Iowa ranks first among all states

    July 22, 2014

  • MHP designated a Blue Zones Worksite OSKALOOSA — Blue Zones Project Oskaloosa today announced Mahaska Health Partnership has been named a designated Blue Zones Worksite. Mahaska Health Partnership was designated after completing the necessary items in the Blue Zones Project worksite ple

    July 22, 2014

  • 072214 Medics Skills Photo Local medics advance skills

    Six EMTs from Mercy Medical Center have completed the work necessary to become paramedics.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National