In Praise Of A&E
There is so much criticism levelled at the country’s health system I thought I would tell you a positive story.
My little girl broke her arm on Saturday night at a roller skating party. Of course, I didn’t know it was broken until we spent several hours at Hutt Hospital’s A&E department.
I have never taken my daughter to A&E before (how lucky am I and let me tell you, I am knocking on a lot of wood at this moment). It was a Saturday night and I was expecting the worst.
It was crowded and it took around half an hour to get through the triage section, but the nurses and support staff couldn’t have been kinder, gentler and more compassionate to Melinda, who was understandably in pain and in a bit of a state.
As we transferred to the main waiting area we both noticed a large notice on the wall in front of us: “We endeavour to see patients within six hours”. “Six hours?!” we exclaimed in unison. I hesitatingly went up to the counter to enquire whether we would be there until 2 am, which was six hours from the time we arrived.
“Not at all”, said the lovely nurse, “it should be much quicker”. Phew I thought.
After about an hour in the main waiting room we were transferred to the recently renovated children’s waiting area, replete with a children’s video playing and a train set moving around the walls just below the ceiling. Absolutely terrific and calming for sick munchkins.
Melinda was seen by a senior nurse who instantly suspected a broken elbow and ushered us into the x-ray room. Again, the radiographers were kind and patient, in spite of Melinda being reluctant to move her arm and still being in a lot of pain.
The senior nurse greeted us outside and confirmed the break and promptly put a cast on Melinda’s arm. She gave Melinda some sort of pain killer to relax her before the very painful part of setting her arm. It is so hard to hear your little child scream, as I am sure all parents will know, but the attending nurses really kept everyone calm and their efficiency was commendable. Three hours from start to finish and we were out of there. It must be a tough lot being an emergency department nurse or doctor and we need to commend them for the amazing jobs they do in often very trying circumstances.