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How to deal with parents?

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by leviathan, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. leviathan

    leviathan Drinking from the hydrant
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    I volunteer a couple shifts a week in a hospital ED helping with triage, and I recently had a bit of a run-in with a patient's parents. They came with their son for some unknown pain in his leg, and were insistent that they get bumped up to the front of the line to be triaged. I didn't know how to respond to them but the dad kept saying, "Don't you understand? He's just a kid" over and over, shouting at me and looking like he was about to get violent. I tried to explain that there were other people who had been waiting longer, and that his son didn't appear to be in any serious pain, all to no avail. I get people like this all the time who demand to be seen first either for themselves or their family members, and they never seem to understand that they have to wait their turn. Any advice on how to deal with people like this?
     
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  3. JkGrocerz

    JkGrocerz Member
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    slap them so hard that you give them a reason to be triaged ahead of everyone else
     
  4. DeLaughterDO

    DeLaughterDO Ghost in the Machine
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    Not very compassionate, but effective nevertheless.

    To the OP:

    You have to realize that these parents are scared and anxious for their child. This puts both of you at a disadvantage - them because they won't listen to a word of your explanation if it means they don't get what they want, and you for the same reason.

    There are 2 ways of dealing with this:

    The one above, and

    Try to explain to them how triage works. If there are truly more ill patients to be triaged, go about your work after you explain. If they continue to harrass you or make motions to become violent, call security and have them explain it to them. If this fails, they will be escorted out of the hospital and the problem will be gone.

    cheers,

    jd
     
  5. Jambi

    Jambi Caldari
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    The best way to handle cranky parents/patients is to take an RN with a nasty disposition, put her in Triage, then take her donuts away. Stand back and watch... :p

    or

    The Stewie Griffin Poison Dart should do the trick

    Of course I'm kidding, kinda...

    in all seriousness, it's a skill that has to be learned. Each and every encounter will demand a custom made approach. If they too excited call sercurity.

    compassion/empathy will take you far (I'm sure you knew that though)
     
  6. leviathan

    leviathan Drinking from the hydrant
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    Yeah, but unforunately the people waiting in front of them to be triaged didn't have very serious complaints either, so it was really just an issue of first come, first serve. One of them was pharyngitis for the past 4 days with no other symptoms/signs, and the one before that was complaints of mild hypertension (145/90) with no other symptoms/signs. People love abusing the ED. ;)
     
  7. EctopicFetus

    EctopicFetus Keeping it funky enough
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    You dont have to tell them who is ahead of them. I use something like this, if you had 2 family members, and one of them was seriously ill (fill in example here), and the other was your son, which would you want us to take care of. Obviously it takes some tact to explain this but I have found it to be very effective. Tell them this is how triage works. Otherwise it is unfair to bump the child ahead of the others. The mild HTN one is funny. reading this thread gets my BP up there. :laugh:
     
  8. roja

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    You can't really let this phase you. It is very generous to think that this attitude was because the family was anxious about their child. (seems to be the rarer case) More than likely they just thought this was an easier way to cut in line.

    I am a big fan of simply telling them that this is an emergency room and the nurse is trained to recognize patients acuity. And if all things being equal, they will be seen in the order they came. If they become insistent or beligerent, I explain to them that they have no other choice and if they continue to be insistent and loud, security will assist them out of the hospital.
     
  9. leviathan

    leviathan Drinking from the hydrant
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    Oh I know. My own BP is normally around that level, and I'm not rushing to the emerg. That wasn't even the worst patient that night, though. The worst had to be the parents who came running up to me because their son fell down and "cut himself badly", so I run over to their son and he's sitting there on a chair with some paper towel on his face. I remove the paper towel and all I see is a superficial lac about 1 cm in length at the corner of his jaw. :confused:
     
  10. substanceP

    substanceP Member
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    one time when i was a volunteer this guy came up to me to find out how long the wait was. i told him it looked like an hour, maybe two and his response was, "yo man, you guys got a VIP section?" to which i replied, "here at hospital X, everyone's a VIP."
     
  11. Febrifuge

    Febrifuge Grizzled Old Newcomer
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    "here at hospital X, everyone's a VIP."

    Quality stuff. :thumbup:
     
  12. toofache32

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    I can't tolerate hysterical people who don't look at the big picture.

    There was a guy in the ER who I had just I&D'd, and his wife came back when I was done. His wife says "he's bleeding!!" I said "where?" She says "right THERE!!" and points to the iodoform gauze sticking out of his face which just dripped off a drop of blood. I said "that's not bleeding", she says "yes it is" I said "no it's not" and walked off.
     

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