Do you believe this to be a typical encounter in an emergency department? Explain your answer.

Take Time to Educate So, I had to make an emergency room visit . . . a couple weeks ago (which I’ve heard has recently become part of . . . Health Care). While I was there for heart problems, I was told that they believed I had a blood clot; thus, they gave me a CAT scan. . . . Next thing I know, a male nurse comes in with my discharge papers, telling me nothing. Apparently they couldn’t find a blood clot, which is great, but a doctor never bothered to talk to me again. I also noticed on my discharge papers that it stated I had hypopotassemia (I already knew that this is a potassium deficiency), but I asked the nurse about it and was told that it’s “no big deal.” No one bothered to tell me that I had it or explain what I should do about it. So I asked the nurse about what to do. Should I eat a banana? He actually said, yeah, eat a banana. I saw my cardiologist a few days later because my condition was worsening, and when I told him about my experience in the emergency room, he was very upset that no one bothered to contact him about a cardiology patient in the emergency room (I assume he was on call) and that they made no mention of or explanation for the hypopotassemia. I guess I’m okay . . . I am on potassium supplements now and have to have follow-up blood work this year to see whether it needs to be increased or decreased. My heart rate has not changed much, but the EKG and Holter monitor [ambulatory electrocardiology device] seem to have come back okay.

Discussion

1. What would be your expectations of the nurse and physician if you were the patient?

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2. Do you believe this to be a typical encounter in an emergency department? Explain your answer.

 
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