Southern Humboldt ER Care ‘Inadequate,’ Complains Letter to the Editor
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The visit was not satisfactory. I saw–if you can call an encounter that lasted less than five minutes that–Dr. Vigil. I came because of severe discomfort in my urogenital region. The inability of the two nurses on duty to operate the computer system–I had to sign in five times before they got it right–did not inspire high expectations in the level of service I was about to receive.
The visit consisted of the following: 1) a urine sample, 2) a saline drip, 3) another urine sample. When this was done I heard one of the nurses call (I presume, Dr. Vigil) and say, “But you have to come down here anyway to discharge him.” You might make the same inference I did. Eventually Dr. Vigil walked into the room and said, “Your urine is clear. You can go home. Goodbye.”
On my way home I thought, “That wasn’t right.” The next morning I was still in considerable discomfort and thought, “If my urine was clear, then it’s likely not a bladder or kidney problem. What else could it be? How about prostate.” I checked the symptoms of prostatitis and found that I had mentioned nearly every one of them to the intake nurse.
The next day I visited Redwoods Rural Health Center. (It’s been years since I was there but there were no appointments available at the Garberville clinic and I needed immediate attention. Dr. Vigil was still on duty in the ER–I called to check–so for me that was not an option.) At RRHC I received from Dr. Scheel the most thorough initial examination I have received from any general practitioner.
After listening to me, examining me, and taking another urine sample, he diagnosed prostatitis and prescribed antibiotics, working together with me to select one of two alternative antibiotics and the duration of treatment. I was very impressed, something I cannot say of my experience at the ER.
Shortly after beginning the antibiotic regimen, I experienced rapid relief.
Like many people, I vote for the property tax surcharge largely to keep the ER open. I hope that the treatment I received Wednesday morning was not typical. However, after that dismal episode, I can only conclude that quality control at the ER is inadequate and ask myself if I should instead have driven to Fortuna or Eureka for treatment. At the least I might have received more attention from the physician, a more accurate and competent diagnosis, and quicker relief from my discomfort.
If I have to do that, why should I pay to keep open an ER I now have so little faith in?
a patient at the Garberville clinic since 1973
Note: Image used by H.p.frei (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons