‘Someone is going to die in this lobby,’ Says Letter to the Editor About St. Joseph’s Hospital

St. Joseph Hospital Eureka [Image from here]

St. Joseph Hospital Eureka [Image from here]

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To the editor,

My husband came to the emergency room at St Joseph Hospital at 7:30 on Friday June 10th with what we suspected was a kidney stone. He was in terrible pain. We have insurance and rarely use the er for our medical care, in fact we both have primary care physicians but we thought they would help us.

We spent 5 hrs in the lobby waiting to see a doctor, while my husband writhed on the floor in pain. He was treated like a burden because the staff was overworked and stressed out. By the time we got to see the one doctor on duty that Friday nite his pain was so bad he was almost unconscious.

5 hours to see a doctor is absurd. Someone is going to die in this lobby from this and it will be the hospitals fault. The doctor told us it was like this every night. She too was afraid someone would die in the lobby sometime. St Joseph makes enough money to support at least 2 doctors in the emergency room at night time. We got there approximately at 7:30pm and left at 5:30 am. And this is not unusual. Something bad is going to happen and St Joseph could do something about this. This is corporate greed at it’s worse.

I suspect that the hospital doesn’t make money from the emergency room, but I’m sure St Josephs makes enough from this community to spring for an extra doctor in the emergency room. I’ve talked to a number of people who have had the same experiences in the emergency room. Wait times of 5 and 6 hours no matter the emergency.

I appreciate your time, Elayne Mayfield



  • I’m sorry for your husband I hope he’s doing better, I too was in the ER last week for what I thought was a kidney stone. After 3 hours , 5 holes in my arms and hands someone finally got the blood draw and IV going, and a CAT scan, that said no stone, they said I was just peeing blood and I was OK. Well 5 hours later, at home I passed the kidney stone they said I did not have.

    • I think the stone was well past your kidneys by the time you went in… the CT scan of kidneys wouldn’t show stone in your urethra, but should have in your ureters. Thank god the time I went with what we thought was kidney stones, the alert radiologist noticed something else and saved me… Just Saying

  • I had the same exact experience with my kidney stone. My experience happened back when it was the old ER. Probably about 6 years ago. i was there 7 hours in horrific pain and vomiting. It got so bad I was thinking about faking a heart attack to get some help. While I was waiting in that awful pain the receptionist was sitting at the window eating her dinner. I vowed to never go back there. i could have driven to Redding or Santa Rosa in the time i was waiting. I almost feel like I was on the verge of PTS. Horrible experience.

    • Willits has a 100% brand new hospital. I haven’t been a patient yet, yah! I have heard horror stories of Mad River and serious misdiagnoses.

  • The problem is that there are a high number of uninsured people in humboldt and the hospitals lose money treating the uninsured. A typical example are my grower neighbors they live like royalty , expensive vacations, expensive vehicles, shopping at wildberries ,yoga retreats but they lie about their income and get medi- cal among other benefits (cal fresh,care,wic,head start)

    • Jesus wouldn't like this

      Unless one opts out of the national Healthcare system and pays the fine, everyone’s insured.
      Poorer folks are on medi-cal. One of the main points of getting insurance for everyone was to allow a way to see a doctor before a medical condition becomes so serious the person has to go to ER.
      It sux ur neighbors are jackasses, but there are bad apples everywhere. Think about how apple, walmart, citibank, etc pay less taxes per year than you. That it’s been made legal for them to do so is the big problem. They abuse the system every chance they get, so some folks (growers or not) choose to abuse in the same way.

      In this case it’s not so much corporate greed as catholic greed. Not to mention that they get our of paying taxes under laws about religious groups. I know the molestation lawsuits cost them a lot but to cut back on ER services is ludicrous and awful!!!!

    • In addition, it is also extremely hard to recruit physicians to this area. Most of them prefer to be in big cities, not in rural areas.

    • How do you know that they receive med iCal and other state benefits? Talk about assumptions, you know what that makes you right?!

  • My mom almost died in that place.they did 3 surgery ‘ s in one day.neclect.plain and simple she spent 6 months in there .not enough nurse’s,overworked the pay sucks.ST JOE’S STOP BUYING HOSPITAL’S and pay attention to the ones u have.the money they spent remodeling should have went to more Doctors.shame what a shame.is that bubbles I hear?ha

  • Take an extra 20 minutes to drive to Arcata or Fortuna this should be illigal. Call your state senator it’s the only way something is going to happen.

    • St Joe and Redwood in Fortuna are the same. Don’t go to Redwood or St Joe ever! Mad River is independent and cares about their patients. The ambulances are ordered to take the patient to a certain hospital and then rack up your bill by telling you that they have to transfer you to another hospital.
      There is no way my brother and I can pay this hospital/ambulance scam off in our life time. Mom passed and we had a DNR so why all this BS??

  • I took my son in for a fractured arm and the wait time was a little more than 5 hrs. to be seen. The absurd thing was the receptionist, hear me out, there was an elderly lady there in a wheel chair in a hospital gown (I’m guessing she came from somewhere else or they moved her back to the lobby, idk) covered with a thin blanket asking for another blanket, she was shivering so much that myself and 3 other people asked the receptionist if she could get another blanket after the 4th person made a scene she finally went back and got the lady a blanket. There were no other clients coming in during this time, none at all. I understand processing information at her computer took precedence, but not to the extent that she couldn’t get up and grab a blanket. Shortly after this whole exchange took place the lady asked if she could have a cup of water to take her meds. The receptionist didn’t even respond to her she wouldn’t even make eye contact. At this time I was called back and I told the nurse what was happening, apparently once we were sent for X-rays the nurse went and brought the lady some water. Our entire visit took 7.75 hrs for an X-ray and a bandage wrap. It was such a huge difference from even a few years ago before the nice new remodel. But I agree someone is going to die in that waiting room before they make a change

  • St joseph healthcare workers in Sonoma county are on strike this week due to lack of fair pay and under staffing at Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma Valley hospitals.

    • Petaluma Valley Hospital is doing one OUTSTANDING job in the ER!!! I should know I work there five days a week.

  • Is it possible that there are just not enough Doctors? It’s hard to attract quality Doctors in a town like Eureka. Industry and good jobs are driven away and not many people want to live there. Other than that, I can’t understand why St. Joseph hasn’t made a reply on this post.

    On a side note, I have been treated there for several maladies and have received the greatest of care and I’m happy with the results, CURED of cancer for one. I was able to go through the appointment process, and my treatment went like clockwork. I have not been there on an emergency.

    Maybe we are lucky to have the care that we do get in view of all the drawbacks? We don’t live in a perfect world anymore.

    • They’re working on more doctors up here – maybe having some come do residency at rural areas, and let junior doctors be on their own… something like that I read for our region. An experiment?

    • I have to echo your comments, Ernie. I too was cured of cancer being treated by the radiologist at St Joe’s, chemo at Eureka Internal Medicine (now part of St Joe’s ) and my ENT Dr Barkdull. I did not use the ER, and it sounds like perhaps a bad idea. I have been to the ER at Phelps in Garberville with reasonably quick results.

  • St. Joseph here in Tacoma Washington is just as bad. Waiting in the er with a friend went to the desk and the Dr. was playing a card game on the computer. When ask how much longer it was going to take he said ” I’ll be in a few minutes.” Then under his breath he said ” I’m not going in there for a long time. Unfortunately for him I heard him say it. Needless to say he came in right away. He still treated her like shit though.

  • Fortuna is far worse. I drive the 20 minutes from Fortuna to eureka because the doctors are slightly better. Fortuna er killed my brother. They misdiagnosed my daughters broken arm, and they misdiagnosed myself having bell’s palsy. Humboldt Healthcare in general is so messed up. Doctors don’t care. The staff will joke and make fun of people who are only separated by a curtain. I’ve watched them do it.

  • Also a four hour wait at Mad River for a head wound. The nurse who greeted me gave me a bandage and sent me home. She said there was only one doctor there, some one they brought in from far away. Imagine the expense of a rent-a-doc. They are paying a premium to bring people here, house them, and pay them enough to make it worthwhile.

  • Missemeraldtriangle

    I went to the ER at st Joe’s with a dog bite I had fatty tissue protruding from it and was bleeding profusely. I waited around 6 hours in the waiting room with a woman having a late term miscarriage. She was bleeding through a towel onto the floor. A man was having a heart attack and there was a little girl with a broken leg. All of us were waiting for hours. The people who were being seen were mainly junkies, who apparently all were having “chest pain” which I guess is the magic word to get care. When I got into the room I had to wait an additional hour while the man on the other side of the curtain got angry that they weren’t prescribing him narcotics because he came in to detox. I believe we need a drug treatment center separate from an emergency room it’s ridiculous that people who have trauma induced injury have to fight for a bed with drug seekers. Not to mention after I got all stitched up I saw the tweeker on the street obviously not going to treatment. I’m okay but I still can’t believe a tweeker got seen before a mother loosing her child.

    • Excellent observation.

    • I like that idea, a separate places for drug treatment and medical.

    • I was taken to St Joseph by ambulance with chest pain and a rapid heart beat. Was left on a gurney in the hall way for 40 minutes. Then put in a room and wait over 2 hours to see a doctor. Dr ordered blood work and EKG. When I asked what happened to the blood that the Paramedic drew on the way to the hospital the answer was oh sorry it never got to the lab so it is to old. after two hours more doctor came in and wanted to do a chest x-ray because he wanted to check for pneumonia. I was livid and refused because I did not have a cold or any symptoms of pneumonia. I have had SVT for years and take medication for it. Long story short. Patient in the next space was the one with pneumonia and when my boss a local doctor show up to check on me. They could not wait to get me out of there. So I came home with a $6000 bill and not wanting to every go back there.

  • I went to ST. JOE’S for a broken wrist about 3 years ago. It took over 7 hours to get service and this happened at my old job so I was brought in by ambulance. Nope fill out this paperwork, uh lady my wrist is broke how do I do paperwork? Luckily my dad came in so he did all my paperwork then I waited for over 7 hours before they knocked me out and set my wrist. Plus when I got there they took the splint off so I am there all that time trying to hold my arm to keep it from moving. They did look in on me about every hour trying to get me to take a IV and morphine so they could tag that on the bill. When I had a kidney stone back in 2012 I went to Mad River Hospital ER right in doctor was there, IV hooked up, CT scan all in the first hour. I recommend Mad River if you have a emergency.

  • My 92 year old grandma arrived at the ER at 1:30 pm because her chest felt heavy, couldn’t swallow, and breathing was difficult due to all of that……. Those are aren’t good symptoms to be having at 92! She was finally seen at about 8pm and they rushed her to surgery to preform a procedure on her esophagus! She got out of recovery by 10pm and due to short staffing on the floors they discharged her at 12:30pm home with me to watch her breathing since they didn’t want her alone. Thank god she’s fine! But it’s ridiculous!

  • I am sorry you had to go through that. I took my daughter there recently and we got called back from the waiting room quickly (it was 1:00 am and the waiting room was empty) but then they had us sit in an ER room for 11 hours before finally moving us to a hospital room where we waited another 5 hours to see an actual doctor. I have heard from employees there that they are understaffed and don’t intend to correct the issue.

  • I took my apt-mate to St Joe’s ER with chest pains on a Friday night at 10 pm. He called his Mom & Dad on the way there. Around 11 they took him to the back to triage and take blood pressure. 10 minutes later he was back out to sit in the Waiting Room still in pain. His Mom got here shortly there and Dad around Mid-night. At two am they called him to see a doctor. I had to leave because I had to work in the morning and had to get some sleep. At 8am I called the Mom and he had tests at 6am and at noon the test were read and he was released shortly. He had a blood clot in his lung and prescribed blood thinners.
    Bottomline like the Mayfields, the ER was not particularly busy, less than half the waiting room chairs occupied in my case.

  • Thank you Kym for having the courage to publish this. With extremely rare exceptions in the NCJ and TS coming to mind–but not the LCO–the other media outlets are too scared of losing advertising revenues to publish anything negative about St. Joseph Hellhole.

    • Well, since they haven’t been knocking at my door to advertise…I think my courage is pretty minimal. I publish all reasonably intelligent letters to the editor that are not libelous whether I agree with them or not.

  • My girlfriend and I had the same experience. She went in for chest pain and we waited for 3 hours. When we got in to e.r we were there for two days because she had a cardiac enzyme present in her blood that shows that the heart is damaged/ being damaged. They bumped us up to the cardiac section of the hospital, it was a very serious situation. That is not exseptable it could have been a stroke or heart attack. They are begging for a lawsuit from someone.

  • Healthcare in America is the worst in the world!

    Get up stand up! Stand up for your right!

    • As someone who has experienced healthcare both in the US and abroad, I must disagree. It far from perfect, that is for sure, but the care here is so much better. For example,, try to do a colonoscopy in Europe. Oh, it will be cheaper, but you get what you pay for. No sedatives, no pain meds. Just derision when you complain of pain. Most hospitals usually have 3-4 people to a room. When my mom needed a PET scan, they told her she is not a rock star or a politician so she is out of luck. Waiting time is 6 months+ there. We had our share of long ER visits here, but the care we received was kind and my mom had a bunch of cheerleaders helping her get back on her feet. If I had to make a choice, I would pick coming to hospital here. Any day.

  • I had a bad experience with a very simple problem. I got bit by a spider 3 times on my arm. Started to swell up so I went to the ER at 4pm. After waiting until 10pm they brought Me in and took My temp and Blood pressure. I was then told that I would be better off coming back the next day because they were so busy and going to Urgent Care. Long story short. Was told to take Benadryl and was sent two bills totaling almost $1500.00 for that. No care, just weighed, BP and Temp.

  • My father (85 yrs) was there for what was thought to be a heart attack, the put a stink in one of his main arteries as it was blocked and figured that must have been a reason for the massive chest pain. They sent him home the next day. Later that evening we had to come back as he was having more pain in the chest. They ran tests could see anything wrong but he had some fluid around his heart and lungs. Sent him home again with with meds for the fluid surrounding his heart…..we were back 5 times total, he was so weak he could not put his shoes on, stand up, walk, vomiting and diarrhea. They finally admitted him and he was there a week when they told him there was nothing wrong with him and they were sending him home. He was so weak at this point we thought he was dying he couldn’t even speak. I had enough with St Joe’s and drove him to Redding Mercy Medical (praying all the while he would survive the trip) and took him straight to the ER. Explained everything to them, they ran a few test and said everything looks good on paper but something was obviously wrong as he had been retaining water (about 30 lbs of water according to Redding ER Doc) and he asked if they had put him on any water pills for this? I said no and dug into my purse and pulled out a pill bottle and said this is what they gave him. The Doc looked at the prescription and shook his head and said this is for gout patience and I wouldn’t ever prescribe it as it is extremely hard on the stomach and causes horrible vomiting and diarrhea, especially to someone of this age. He went on to say if he had finished the prescription he most likely would not have lived because he was already so weak and shutting down. He said stop taking them NOW and start taking these water pills. Almost immediately he was feeling better. It took months to recover completely. I called St. Joe wanting to find the Dr who prescribed the pills and explained what we went through and that the meds prescribed to him by a doc at St Joe nearly killed him. They said they would have to do a investigation at that point because a complaint had been made. A week later we went to the St Joe’s billing department (mind you this had been a months time) and GUESS WHAT??? THERE WAS NO BILL AND HAS NEVER BEEN A BILL for 5 ER visits, an operation for the stint, 2 days in ICU and a week on the second floor!! Its as if he was NEVER there!!! SHADY is the only word for St Joseph Hospital.

  • The er at st joes is a fix center for junkies, been there in wait for 6hrs, pray you dont get sick. Prevention is the best cure,cuz st joes is not an option!!!!!!

  • We have a really bad shortage of doctors here in our area. It’s hard to attract any from the larger hospitals. My wait times in that ER have been no fewer than 6 hours at a time. When I brought this up to my doctor, he said he confirmed it. He cannot accept any more patients. He also said that in a good year, he can comfortably see about 1200 patients. But, he has to squeeze in about 2500-3000 patients a year. High stress!

  • I’m amazed that in Milwaukee the average wait time in the Er is under 10 minutes. My grandkids have been there a few times. And urgent care for a weekend ear infection: in, exam, and out in under 15 minutes. I thought our horrendous er waits were happening everywhere, but no. Get more staff. They are not just a budget item in a profit driven system. Peoples lives and health are falling prey to profits being prioritized over providing care.

  • I as well went in Jan for possible broken arm, hours later I’m treated put in temporary cast, told to go back to arm Dr in Eureka for casting (had surgery on same area end of 2105, so they wanted to have them check that area for damage) My specialist could find NO brake in St Joseph’s Xrays or there own they took. Now I’m paying off a $5600 bill (with insurance) for my troubles!! DONE with that place!

  • As you can see by the number of first hand negative experiences, st joes has been in crisis mode for years. All of this is due to understaffing, and an outrageous disregard for the community it is supposed to serve. My friend, an ER nurse there, took early retirement, because of the daily stress of understaffing. This is so easy to fix, but the church that runs this dump won’t spend the money.Sacramento should be investigating, because their managers actions are criminal. Never, ever, ever go to st joes for anything, greedy catholic bottom feeders.

  • Santa Rosa or San Francisco may be the closest hospital with staff enough and highly qualified doctors. Humboldt County is considered a “cow county”, according to a couple of unnamed attorneys, and does not draw many revered doctors. I have had the pleasure of be treated by a few very good doctors and staff that saved my life, at St. Joseph’s-Eureka, but, also had the opposite happen at Redwood Memorial. Sadly, it is a coin flip each time. Seniors and others investigate medical facilities, prior to moving, to try and have good medical treatment.

  • St Joseph hospital sucks. I will never set another foot in there again. The staff is rude in the ER. Thay don’t really care for the well being of other people.

  • St. Joseph Health--Humboldt County

    Hi Elayne,

    Thank you for your feedback. We regret that you and your husband had a negative experience in the ER. We work hard to ensure every patient receives proper treatment and is treated with dignity and respect.

    We value your input and would like the opportunity to discuss your experience so we can ensure care was appropriate or how we may do better. Please consider calling us at (707) 269-4234 so that we can better understand the circumstances and work with you to address your concerns.

    • In other words, St. Joseph Hospital —- you are telling people to call that number (probably unattended line to leave a message) and then stop posting a concern or complaint here? Hmnnn,sorry,doesnt work like that!

  • Ever notice when you read stories about local car accidents where the patients have to be medivac by Reach/CalStar it’s always to Santa Rosa or Redding. That definitely says something about local hospitals.

  • I think the whole for profit health care model is pure bologna. Doctors should be paid on the basis of their ability to make a person well. Furthermore, our healthcare system is wrought with greed. Shame on the healthcare entities that derive profit from the suffering of people. We need a single payer system and controls on the for profit healthcare industry including the pharmaceutical industry. St Joe’s is another example of corporations profiting of our people’s suffering and they treat their employees like garbage. Despicable. Thanks for the letter Elayne.

  • St. Joseph Health-Humboldt County

    Elayne – Thank you for your feedback. We regret that you and your husband had a negative experience in the ER. We work hard to ensure every patient receives proper treatment and is treated with dignity and respect. We value your input and would like the opportunity to discuss your experience so we can ensure care was appropriate or how we may do better. Please consider calling us at (707) 269-4234 so that we can better understand the circumstances and work with you to address your concerns.

  • I had the same experience as the original writer. It was 5 hours before my blood was taken. I am a stoic about pain, but I was beyond irrational. If someone had told me that by taking out my heart it would lessen the pain, I would have said sure. There were other people in the waiting room who were weeping and yelling from pain. Not Good. Deplorable.

  • Here’s the deal folks. The ER staff is bogged down by lowlife drug seekers that make up whatever condition they can to get treated. Every person in the ER is triaged based on severity of illness/Injury. If you want to be seen ASAP call the ambulance. If you arrive in an ambulance you go straight in and get seen before anyone in the lobby. I understand your husband was in pain, but if you guys thought it may be life threatening you should have called the Ambulance and saved yourself 5 hours of pain. Most real emergencies do not walk into the ER. Just my two cents. Glad everything worked out. Just be thankful we have a hospital. Plus there are some very good things that come out of it. All the negativity doesn’t help anyone.

    • You definitely do not get right in when you take an ambulance. You are still subject to the same triage system. If you are low acuity you still go right to the waiting room.

    • Screw your two cents! I am the husband. All they gotta do is put another doctor in there..it’s not like they don’t make enough money.
      The health care system is criminal, we had to go to India for my wife to have a knee replacement.
      the whole thing just ticks me off….and again I don’t give two s^%#@ about your two cents.

  • I have been told to just complain of chest pains and you go to the top of the list! If I had to wait as long as some of these folks the chest pains would be real!

  • yeah well an ambulance ride does not guarantee you get seen right away. many many times those taken in by ambulance are dumped right into the lobby too. ambulance does not ensure fast care! believe me.

  • Let’s not forget when they left surgical instruments inside a patient

  • These stories are shocking. My experiences at St. Joes have been exactly the opposite. Granted, the last one was 5 and a half years ago. Walking in with thr diagnosis of a myocardial infarction I was attended to immediately. 5 days later I had bypass surgery and have made a remarkable recovery. I can’t say enough good things about the care I received. After reading these stories I can’t help but wonder what happened. I’m afraid of what will happen the next time I have a medical emergency.

  • In 2001 my oldest daughter DID die due to St. Joseph’s inept care after being taken to the ER. Had we not obtained some information that they later tried to cover up we likely would’ve not been able to make them responsible.
    Approx two years ago my adult son was in a serious accident and was taken to St. Joseph’s for a broken leg. His doctor was great however during his stay the nursing staff with one exception was terrible, it was obvious most of those nurses were there for a paycheck only & not interested in taking care of their patients.
    Unfortunately news like this does not surprise me!

  • We took our ten week old baby girl into St. Joseph’s Emergancy Room, at 6:00p.m. in the evening. Our pediatrician called ahead to make arrangemnts, so that we would be rushed right in. She contacted the pediatric hospital specialist, alerting them ahead of time that she believed her to have pneumonia. When we arrived, our baby girl was already in bad shape. She had not nursed or taken any fluids in over 24 hours. She was lathargic and non-responsive. We filled out paperwork for insurance and then waited. We went back into the pre-entry check-in, and shockingly, we were sent back out into the waiting room. We explained that our doctor had called to make sure she would be seen right away. The gentlemen smirked and actually laughed a little, like that’s funny, imply that is not how it works and we were to go to the waiting room now. We waited for three and a half hours with my almost motionless baby in my arms! I was beside myself with anxiety, stress and absolutely terrified frustration. I begged them to please, please just check her vitals. A gentlemen came out with an oxygen monitor and then could not get a reading because batteries were dead. He went back into the emergency room and finally emerged, fixing the battery issue he took her levels again. Yes, finally someone doing something for our sick, sweet , tiny fragile 10 week old. Her oxygen was low! Some faint since of urgency finally! They sent us back for x-rays then we waited another grueling 20mins while I watched so many others pass through a drunken fighter with a hurt fist? A young girl with a wrapped ankle injury? Surely, I thought to myself there must be some list of priority of need? It did not seem so. First come first served by number, seemed to be what was happening. They called our baby girls name, finally! We are going to see the doctor. Not the case we wait another 2 hours this is becoming unreal to us. Dr gets there, relief sets in he says get the baby hydrated, awesome, do blood work, great. Then he leaves and it is just us and the nurse again. She does not know how to handle a baby IV. I suggest she get someone from the neonatal niche unit. Instead she wanders around to find another nurse. She comes back with the check-in one, who laughed us off earlier to watch her/help. She sticks her four times with no success. I suggest that the baby needs a moments break, and could she please consider getting someone who has cared for an infant before. She openly admitted she has not had experience with infants. Finally an angel from the neonatal unit arrives, again at another wait. She tells her wrong needle, too big and changes a few other tools. She explains that they do not poke there and goes over where and why with her. It is difficult even for the neonatal nurse, dehydrated veins in tiny babies are tough. She gets poked in her arms, ankle, back of hand and her head. The nurse does not give up. She tries the last time in the back of hand. I felt tears of relief, finally, the neonatal nurses perseverance paid off. Nine pokes later and then some for blood draw. We left at 3:30a.m. She was awake enough to have a cry, a huge relief. It was a total of 9 1/2 hours too long for any infant baby. In such cases of infants and higher priority cases, there needs to be a time reduction. Learning now from comments above, we would have called an ambulance. Please know that we do appreciate any care provided by our limited resources in this area. Our story is only to find ways to streamline the waiting process.

  • You never know what is going on in the ER. A kidney stone will not kill you though it may feel like it. It’s easy to judge when you don’t know the whole picture of what is happening in the dept.

  • I once went in having an allergic reaction, hives everywhere, hard to breath, and they told me I had a sinus infection and should lose weight. I was already working on my fitness which they would have known if they’d bother to ask. I ended up at mad river shortly there after because surprise surprise Benadryl doesn’t do anything to help you breath when you’re having a serious allergic reaction.

  • Retired R.E. Agent

    There IS one more “hospital” in Humboldt County. Garberville. With it’s at least partial staff of rent-a-docs. you are guaranteed to get a different doctor every time. And at the clinic, you are required to pay before you are seen by anyone but the receptionist.

  • St Joe has been run like a Mob. Forcing Doc’s out of business or forced to buying into their business. Over last 30 years what a trip it has been. Administrators added on top of more administrators ,on top of more administrators thinking what? It will be less expensive? Very odd group.
    I wish when the powers to be decide to do a bond for our hospital needs it will be one without religious connections. I think it is being sold or merged or whatever. Too bad the community can’t buy it.
    TT , I could have posted a similar story I wont use TT any longer.
    Thank you to all at St Joe that make it work in spite of the barriers. Thank You


    Stay Alive Head South Unless Your Bleeding Out .I spent 4 hrs waiting for an orthopedic surgeon that never showed .Then they told me he was on the list but was out of town . I said OK transfer me to Stanford for my broken wrist .I went home and left for Stanford 6 hrs later .The doctor never called Stanford I realized when we got there .When the doctor asked where Garberville was and what was I doing down there .He looked at my wrist and asked if an MD put my splint on .I said yes .He said it’s on the wrong side of the break now I see why your here .I also had a son with a heart defect UCSF sent me home with a letter telling the doctors up here that they weren’t Qualified to treat my son and were to contact them immediately if he was in their care , SAVE A LIFE ALWAYS HEAD SOUTH >AND STAY AWAY FROM REDDING ALSO

  • In the majority of these ER visit anecdotes the patient got sent home. That is the crux of the ER problem: you go there for an emergency, not so you can make an unscheduled doctor visit. Emergency is the key word here.

  • Some true horror stories in the comments section here. I know that some of the ER patients at St. Joseph’s are there because they are too disorganized to make a doctor’s appointment, or they wait until the problem has reached crisis stage before seeking treatment. But not all. I have a good friend who works in healthcare in Eureka and he points out the dearth of GPs in the area and the long wait time for appointments. He’s also no fan of St. Jospeh’s though he will go there because it’s closest to where he lives. He seems to have a higher overall opinion of Mad River and goes there when he can. It does sound, however, that St. Joseph’s ER triage system isn’t up to snuff.

    I drove a friend to St. Joseph’s for a colonoscopy a couple of months ago. After enduring the grueling preparation, he was told the procedure was scheduled for 9:15 a.m. It didn’t happen until nearly 4:00 p.m. In the meantime, he had to lie on a barely padded gurney, unable to sit up or leave except to visit the toilet. The results of the test were good, but the same cannot be said of his experience at St. Joseph’s.

  • I’ve seen St. Joes cast the wrong arm on my wife, even after the broken one had a clear lump on the forearm, had to take her back a week later and they cast the proper arm…I’ve seen them rip an iv out of someone’s arm by accident, because the tubing was wrapped under the bed and they rose the tower too fast. I’ve had them forget to turn off my IV and fill my arm with fluid to the point it was a soggy balloon, then try to get me to be quiet about it by offering me a private room…and the Sleep Disorder center…EVERYONE who goes there for a sleep test, or takes a home test of theirs, is found to have sleep apnea. Not one ever is negative, and they make you sign up for a CPAP vendor, choice of only 2 local companies, before they even do the test!! No choice of internet price shopping for your equipment if needed…Wont let you check to see if its covered by your insurance company, its sign now or no test, once they have you there…And the ER…even after asking repeatedly if their doctors or services are covered “In-Network” by Blue Cross insurance, and being told YES repeatedly, they bill you for “out-of network” doctors. I asked many times, and told them I did NOT want any procedures, tests, or medical care from any “Out-Of Network” providers…They agreed it wouldn’t happen….then, I got a bill for $2900, and another for $900, for that, even though its ILLEGAL under CA state law for a Doctor in an ER to bill for “out of network” charges without informing the patient specifically and with their signature…someone really, really needs to do an investigation on their shady billing practices, substandard care, and insurance fraud going on there…

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