September 2, 2014 in Letters, Opinion

ER wait times matter


I disagree that advertising short emergency room wait times sends the wrong message (Aug. 29 editorial). There are reasons other than the objectives of the Affordable Care Act to advertise short ER wait times.

During the last 18 months of my 95-year-old mother’s life, she went to the ER 11 times. Initially, she was sent to the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center ER because her primary doctor is associated there and it was her preference. Five and one-half hours sitting in a packed waiting room when she could barely hold her head up was what pushed me into looking elsewhere. Two and one-half hours in the waiting room was typical.

Contrast that with taking her to Valley Hospital, where the intake was completed within a few minutes and she was in the ER being seen by nurses and doctors quickly.

My experience has been that primary doctors don’t see critically ill patients and are not easily accessible when a critical situation arises, so the ER is the only viable alternative. The people in the waiting rooms were all very sick or had some sort of trauma. It did not appear to be filled with those using it as their primary care.

Bryan Bledsoe

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