LETTER: The staff of ER dept need professional training in order to offer optimum service for the new expansion

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Dear Editor,

There is no doubt that the day-to-day operations of the ER dept at SLBMC need overhauling.

Besides the long wait to see a doctor, I think the time has now come where patients who have a chronic condition such as sickle cell and other conditions that cause patients to be in serious distress and are frequent attendees to the hospital, should be given an ID card to allow them to get immediate attention upon their arrival at the ER dept.

Interestingly, most of these patients are considered as frequent flyers to the hospital. They are patients who suffers with a chronic life threatening condition and frequently visit the hospital to seek urgent service to relief them at that moment, of the agony they are facing.

Surprisingly, last evening while I was at the ER dept with my nephew who I took to see the doctor,  I witnessed a young lady in some excruciating stomach pains.

It was very evident that the pain was unbearable to a point it was causing the lady to go in & out of consciousness.

To say the least, how the lady was treated by the staff at the front desk, certainly was not appealing. It was quite clear to me that the triage system that is in place at the ER dept is not working effectively. It led me to think that the staff is discourteous, unempathetic and needs professional customer service training.

It was understood that the lady’s condition, is a condition that flares up very often causing her serious distress and forces her to be a regular visitor to the hospital to seek medical treatment to get relief.

Seeing the lady in such agony along with the nurses who were on duty at the front desk going to & fro about their normal business as if no urgent attention was needed to offer to the lady made my blood run cold.

I will admit, that I was immediately forced to call out to the nurse to indicate that the lady needs help. Eventually, the lady got her vitals checked, but sadly, she was then told to wait until her name was called to see the doctor.

Of course, it is understood that the nurses at the front desk have to observe the protocols or rules that governs the front desk area and at the same time, they may not be familiar with the patient or the patient’s medical history.

However, it confuses me as to why a patient of such critical condition is not issued a medical ID card from the hospital so that they can be easily identified to the ER staff, as a patient who requires immediate attention upon their arrival.

On the otherhand it is full time that patients who are suffering with dementia or alzheimer’s disease be fitted with a tracking a band. There are too many families losing love ones because of the walking away of these sick individuals thus resulting into a fatal demise.

The authorities who are responsible to manage our lone hospital need to realize that we are now living in the 21st century. Mediocrity should not be taken for granted.  If SLBMC should be a state of the art medical facility then the services from the front desk to the wards should be at its optimum.


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