By Ken Martin

A NIGHT TO FORGET: On a recent Sunday evening, while I was at my computer getting some information for my wife, I noticed the beginning of a pain in my chest. Soon it intensified and traveled up into my shoulders, up my neck and into my head. I was pretty sure it wasn’t a heart attack but the symptoms, when they didn’t clear up in a few minutes, were close enough to cause me to make a trip to the Emergency Room at our Eden Medical Center Hospital.

When I arrived, there was only one couple in the waiting room. Because I had chest pains they gave me priority. On my way to a little curtained enclosure I observed on one other person in another enclosure. From what I could see, there no other patients there.

I checked in about 9 PM. They immediately did an EKG and then moved me to a gurney in the curtained enclosure and put a bunch of stickers on my body with which to hook up a monitor. Shortly after, a lady doctor came in and asked me all the usual questions and advised me as to what appeared to be going on with my heart. And then she left.

It was now about 9:30 PM. From that time until about 11 PM, when I sent my wife out to look for the doctor, I had absolutely no human contact – not an “Are you OK?” or a “Do you need a blanket? or a “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” or even a look-in. Nothing!!

Finally my wife returned with the lady doctor in tow. She gave me a little more in-depth explanation of why I was there, told me that I would be taken up to a room soon, and left. Possibly a half hour later, another lady doctor arrived, asked me all the same usual questions, gave me another explanation of my problem, and left. It was now approaching midnight.

From about midnight on, until 4:30 AM when I was finally transported to a room, except for a couple of nurses that made very brief contact with me, one to advise me that she was the new shift nurse and the other to take blood samples, and a security guard (not a medical person) that came by to check the monitor, I once again was almost devoid of any human contact.

Note that all this took place on what certainly did not appear to be a busy night. Had they been busy I could have understood the long periods of isolation. But, since I believe they were not, failing to periodically check on a patient was inexcusable. I am sure that had some physical change occurred, it would have shown up on the monitor and the Emergency Room personnel would have appeared in a flash. But what I am talking about is the high discomfort level of not even seeing anybody checking up on your immediate needs or giving you any information for hours at a time! Also, from my position in the curtained area, I could not even see anyone. I could only hear sounds! In spite of all this, I am fine, thank you!

Eden Hospital, pride of the community. I think you really can and should do better!