Friday, February 03, 2006

Triage Tales 5

Disclaimer: The following story is a work of fiction. All similarities to people, places, things and events are coincidental by nature.

A 22 year old female is brought to the ED by her parents, complaining of severe lower back pain. The symptom has been there for a week. No dysuria, fever, or chills. But as is typical of patients who arrive at 3AM, the history is a little disjointed to say the least.

The triage officer decides to send the patient to another hospital. In the best interest of this patient and many others, sometimes there is a need for less urgent cases to be transferred to capable institutions with less patients in their EDs. At this particular point in time, the supposedly 20-bed Acute Care Unit had 40-plus patients inside.

The mother, upon learning this, says: "We were told by the doctor from the other hospital that we could transfer our patient here."

Another uncoordinated patient, as is the practice of hospitals from the Las Pinas, Paranaque, Cavite, Laguna and Batangas areas. Sometimes the patients are not so lucky and we get a coded patient with a referral form... but that's another story.

As the triage officer pieced together the parents' story (and showing some laboratory results and a referral form to the ominous "Hospital Of Choice"), it became apparent that the patient has been treated already in another institution. Why the transfer?

"Because they told us there were no facilities to treat the patient."

Hmmm. So a supposedly secondary hospital cannot treat a case of acute pyelonephritis.

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