To the patients (and families) who yell at the ED staff

I don't really understand what is with patients who feel the need to yell at the ED nurses and Docs. I'm really just a fly on the wall, so I miss most of the flak, but watching it go down is probably one of the most annoying parts of my day...hence it inspired the following compiled synopsis of interactions with that lovely family that came in today:

Yes, ma'am, we know that your c-spine collar is very uncomfortable and that it doesn't allow you to watch your stories or look around the room for your call button, which we conveniently located directly next to your head. Fortunately for us, your voice was shrill enough carry over all the noise of the over-crowded ED all the way to the nursing station at the other end of the hall. Screaming "Help me, I'm dyin', I'm dyin', I can't breathe" at the top of your lungs, really communicated the urgency of your situation. Unfortunately, I don't think waiting room was able to hear you though the sold oak fire doors.

What's that? Yes, we need to keep that collar on because we haven't been able to look at your spine with the CT machine yet. No, it's not choking you, that's your panic attack that's making it hard to breathe. Apparently not being able to breath doesn't stop you from screaming at the top of your lungs...I think you're breathing fine, please just breathe deeply. Yes, we know that your neck hurts, that's why we need to keep the collar on and look at your spine with the CT machine. Yes, I know that you've been here for 45 minutes, but we have several other people that need to have their heads and necks imaged with the CT machine too, we're waiting until they're finished. Because they were here hours before you and they waited their turn.

Oh that's nice, you're son's here to visit you...what's that? You want your mother to get her CT scan and to go home as soon as possible. Funny, that's what we want too. However, there are sicker patients, like the lady with the sudden onset of the worst headache of her life and the man who came in 2 hours before your mother with his head split open from the fall that he took when he fainted at work. There's no need to raise your voice, sir. We're getting her through as fast as we can, sir, but there are patients with life-threatening injuries that we must deal with immediately because they could DIE. Your mother is sitting up now watching Days of Our Lives and laughing with your brother and aunt...oh that's your grandmother, I'm sorry. Regardless, we just need to be sure that there was no damage to her head, neck or spine before we let her go. So you don't sue us, that's why.

We're doing the best we can, sir, we've got patients in every bed in the department. Listen, yelling at me and the nurses isn't going to get your mother out of here any faster. In fact, it's taking time away from the nurses and ultimately delaying your mothers care and discharge. She should be going to CT in the next hour or so. No we need to get a radiologist to read the scan, that will take some time, but your mother should be out of here in 2-3 hours. We're also waiting on the labs we sent up earlier, and then we need to figure out where your mom needs to go after her scan comes back.

Sir, the nurses can hear you cursing about them, the work station isn't soundproof and you're standing 3 feet away in the middle of the hall way. Yes we know you said it, you're the only one with a Rastafarian accent in earshot of us. You're also the only one shooting menacing glares at the nursing station...besides that psych patient, but he can't help it. Do you really kiss your mother with that mouth???

...2 hours later...

Yes we're glad your mother is fine too. Have a nice day.

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