12 Jun One Woman’s Emergency Room Nightmare
Chloe, a 32-year-old yoga teacher, was on vacation in Manhattan when she found herself waiting nine hours in the Emergency Room to be seen for a mystery condition. This is her story, and why Mend Clinic encourages patients who require urgent care to save time, money, and stress by choosing an ER alternative.
I was visiting a friend in New York, and it was my first time in the city. She taught during the day, so on my first day I pulled on my jacket and took the subway to the uber-touristy hop on/hop off pickup point to spend the day soaking up all the sights. It was cold, it was rainy, and while I noticed that my arm hurt a little bit, I didn’t think anything of it. I returned to her apartment after seven hours to shower before meeting her and her co-workers for happy hour. When I took off my jacket, I saw that my arm had swollen to twice its normal size. A dark, purple “snake-like” skin stain had appeared on my inner elbow and was wrapping its way up my arm.
I texted my friend and went to the closest hospital possible. By the time I arrived, the “snake” had grown, making its way up my arm another inch. The ER didn’t seem exceptionally busy, and I was told to wait. My friend arrived, and said she had a friend whose husband worked in the ER of the hospital—unfortunately he was off-duty at the time. When she told him what was going on, his first question was, “Is she white?” She said, “She looks white.” His reply? “She’ll probably be okay, then.” That should have been the first sign that this wasn’t the best place to be.
Waiting In The Emergency Room
Nobody took my information for the first three hours. They apparently wrote my name down wrong, foregoing my surname entirely and getting my first name wrong. I didn’t notice this at the time (I didn’t see their paperwork). After six hours, close to midnight, I finally jumped on one of the doctors who was rushing by. I asked her how much longer it would be, and she said they’d get to me when they could. When I told her the “snake” was visibly growing, she said, “Well, it’s a good thing you’re in the ER, then.” I asked her to just tell me what the worst case scenario might be, though nobody had even attempted a diagnosis. I was told, “The worst case scenario is we amputate the arm, but we’re going to try and avoid that.”
By three in the morning, a gurney had freed up and I was told to wait there. I fell asleep on it while my friend fell asleep in one of the lounge chairs we’d dragged into the ER’s waiting room (there were no available chairs otherwise). I awoke to medics pushing me down the hallway. I was told I was being transferred to another hospital where I might be able to get treatment. My phone was dead, I couldn’t tell my friend what was happening, and had no idea where they were taking me.
Ultimately, I never did get a definitive diagnosis. I spent three days in the hospital, where interns were regularly paraded in because, “They just had to see this.” However, whatever it was, it responded to an antibiotic drip. Their best guess was cellulitis, which can be deadly, but it didn’t particularly look like a typical case of cellulitis. The final bill? Just over $10,000.
This is, unfortunately, not an unusual story. Urgent care is often a better choice and remember, you don’t have to go to the ER, unless you believe you are in a life-threatening situation. Mend Clinic is open to walk-ins daily, or you can call 971-204-8410 to schedule an appointment and be seen even faster. Be seen by a highly qualified orthopedic specialist today.