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Worst ER ever?

Posted 05-04-2018 at 06:58 AM by Nostroke
Updated 06-13-2018 at 08:40 AM by Nostroke

This past Tuesday 4/17, I fell and broke my elbow/arm (hairline fracture), tripping over one of those ‘manhole covers’ in a gas station within 30 yds of my home. The covers were raised at least an inch off the surface. Admittedly, the one that got me may have been painted orange (There were several in the area- both painted and unpainted) but 2 cars were coming at me from 2 different directions and my attention was on them. After my foot made direct contact with the cover. I went down immediately and HARD. I knew i was injured but was hoping it wasn’t that serious and declined a 911 call. Adrenaline was doing its job at that moment.

After a struggle, two nice Spanish fellas assisted me to my feet. It was 5PM and by 5:10 i was at my front door where turning the door knob confirmed something was broken. I was at the White Plains Hospital ER by 5:30.

I get out of the cab in front of the White Plains Hospital ER and immediately trip over the curb and fall to the concrete for the second time since i was 10 years old, and for the second time in the last 30 minutes. I am actually on my back like a turtle in peril and just as capable. When I glance into the security area just inside the first door I see 2 security guards in their booth, neither of whom, ever made a move to assist me in any way. Even though i saw them–silhouettes in a room with dark glass, POSSIBLY they did not see me.

When you are my age-2 months from 70, it’s not that easy to get out of a low chair, much less so from flat-on-your-back on concrete with a busted arm. I couldn’t use that arm to right myself at all. Luckily there was a signpost inches from my good arm and i used that to get myself upright. By this time the guards seemed out of view, presumably hiding in the corner of their booth. After all-No can see, no can help! Right?

I ‘signed in’ and took one of the few remaining seats in the waiting room. There was a 14 month old kid (someone asked mom) across from me who was being a little boisterous but mom was doing her best to keep her from disrupting the whole place. The child complete with food on her face etc was running back and forth in front of me, very close to making contact with me. Kind of typical but please understand when you have a freshly broken arm and are in high level pain, everything is substantially more annoying.

Within about 5-6 minutes, dad comes in and becomes engaged in essentially a one way noisy conversation with his little girl. “Hey Monkey Butt.. Whatcha doing Monkey Butt..Come here Monkey Butt….” etc ad nauseum. Mom reminded him he was in an ER but he never stopped-ever!.The jabbering went on until i was brought inside maybe 30 minutes later and well beyond i’m sure. Eventually the baby comes by me and gives out a high pitched scream 3 feet from my ear. A half mile away dogs began howling (possibly a slight exaggeration).At this point i saw a new seat had become available and i gingerly moved over there. Neither dad nor mom looked at me funny-they understood.

One last thought on Dad. He was the Patient! He had walked in like he was crippled with #9-10 back pain and confirmed it in words. How can you be in such pain and then begin an endless goo goo session with your baby like you are in the best mood of your life? No answer here-just a question!

My new seat was next to a corner-where it was supposed to be-hadn’t been moved or misplaced by anyone. My broken arm is resting on the left chair arm. There were 2 people to my immediate left waiting their turn. Keep in mind the Security booth is 5-7 feet from me, normally with 2 guards, who can monitor both the front entrance and the Waiting Room.

Maybe 15 minutes later this thuggish looking fella, not a worker, comes around the corner pushing an older man in a wheelchair. He smashes hard and direct into my seat and knocks my broken arm off the chair arm. As i yell out in pain and ask him to stop, he continues pushing my chair. “Stop, please stop, I have a broken arm, you’re hurting me” He looks down at me in disdain as he continues to push me to a 45 degree angle and says “I’ll break your arm.” There may have been an F word in there also, I was in too much pain, shock and anger to remember

No one said a word to him except the girl next to me whose eyes were half closed-higher than i have ever been-That’s for sure. She says with a pleading face “Cmon man, he has a broken arm, stop! What’s the matter with you?” Thank you sweetheart. I really appreciated that and good luck with your struggles.

He then starts doing the ‘pimp walk’ around the waiting room and when he comes by me, he mumbles something in a threatening manner. All and all, under the circumstances, It was absolutely the meanest thing anyone had ever said/did to me- lifetime! The security guards never left their booth though i can’t be sure they saw me and him but THEY WERE SUPPOSE to have seen us!

I am brought into the ER itself at approximately 6:15 (all the times given will be estimates) My temperature is a bit elevated from my DR visit earlier in the day for a different matter. It’s 95.8 and my BP is 170/100. I mention the threat but the girl was multi-taking and I honestly didn’t think she had taken it in but I learned otherwise later. Good work Miss.

By 6:20 I am on a gurney in the hall and I am asked to put on a hospital gown “ You mean I’m going to have to go through this with my ass hanging out?”.. “No sir, you can keep your pants on .” Whew! Not that i give a damn someone sees my ass-I’ll sit there naked and not care but having my old man’s ass perfectly framed by one of those gowns was just NOT going to happen. No one should have to see that. No human will speak to me, other than patients with one exception for the next 90 minutes.

I don’t want to leave out virtually the only proactive action taken by the staff. The Head nurse came and inquired about the threat i received in the waiting room. At this point, the gangster offender was just around the corner from me. I pleaded with her not to say anything as i was sure he had a knife and a good chance a gun also. She told me they just needed to know who he was so they could keep an eye on him and i assume keep a security worker in his area. Thank you Miss!

After maybe 30 minutes layng there, I began to wonder if i had other injuries? When a 70 year old man falls and breaks his arm, You’d think the staff might want to do an all around inspection but not here at the WHITE PLAINS HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM.

At any rate I discover a 1&½ x 1&½ inch area of my knee that is bloodied and raw. I decide to keep my pant leg up to keep the denim out of it and perhaps an aide will see it and clean it up. Wishful thinking! I ask 1,2,3 and eventually 7 people on staff to please clean it up a little which would take perhaps 3 seconds with an alcohol pad or whatever it is they use these days. All of them did either the ‘Urgent Runaway’ from now on referred to as the ‘UR” or pretended to be deaf. Most did the former (UR).

The UR is a move perfected by the entire ER staff here at the WPH. When a patient requests something, don’t say a word, just simply move away briskly as if you are going for help or supplies etc and then NEVER COME BACK or at the very least not anytime soon.

At 6:50- sill laying there unassisted by anyone, i hear one nurse tell another that at 7PM, only 2 of them are staying. I later learned 7Pm was shift change. At 7PM apparently they all gather in a secret room, have coffee,donuts and update each new shifter on what specific methods are best employed to avoid assisting their assigned patients. No doubt the UR was the go-to advised for me. The shift change also means I will not see anyone for another 50+ minutes.

At approximately 7:50 i am approached by a Drs Assistant and a nurse “to document” my information. I never see a full Dr the entire time I am in the ER. She (The DA) asks a few questions including what meds i take daily, any allergies etc. and is off and away. I had advised her that i had not yet taken my 2nd Metformin (diabetes pill) of the day and that i thought my knee should be cleaned.

At this point I’m thirsty as hell and I ask someone, a nurse or Tech for some water and to have my knee cleaned. This is at least my Fifth unanswered request for the knee and probably the 3rd for water. Either the UR or the deaf maneuver is put into play-not sure which-but I sure as hell don’t get my knee cleaned or a drop of water.

Maybe 10 minutes later which isn’t bad at all, I’m approached by the Xray guy and brought into the special room. Nothing much happens in here except i have to play contortionist to get my arm placed in the positions they want which i get done without too much extra pain, thankfully!, though there was more than enough to go around.

As I’m leaving with my right pant leg pulled up i asked if anyone of those present (4 guys) would please alcohol-wipe or otherwise clean my knee. The chief guys says “You better just pull down your Pants over it.” I said “ Really? So you think the best thing to do is to cover it with my pants, get all the denim dye and threads in there while it develops into a scab?”… “Ah just do what you want then!”

Now I’m brought back to the exact same spot in the hall on my gurney. It’s 8:10 Pm Quite a lot of things happen over the next 60/70 minutes but of course none of them involve touching my knee or even just handing me an anti-bacterial pad or whatever it is they use these days .

Around this time the DA came over to me and said i looked dehydrated “May i see your tongue” Have you been drinking enough water and food?” I said “I’ve been here on this gurney for 3 hours ( I exaggerated 1 hour) and no one has offered me a drop of water or food” An immediate spin and a perfect deployment of the UR! Judges? 10..10..10..10..10 Nadia Comaneci of the ER!!

A bit later, judging by her apparent awkwardness, one of the lesser skilled of all the techs arrives. Anyway The DA is here too and says she (the tech) is going to take a sugar reading with this contraption 2-3x bigger than what seems necessary. Having had horrible experiences in the past where I almost had to have a blood transfusion (possible exaggeration), I said “Look you have to set that thing at the most delicate setting you have- I am not a Brick Layer- I have the skin of a little baby.” Guess what, she got it totally right and the needle hit soft but just enough to easily produce a drop of blood. Reading 162-Not horrible but high enough that i thought they would bring me the Metformin i was past due.Nope!

I believe it was my nurse who came over next to tell me that I had a hairline fracture of the elbow-Not too bad but it goes all the WAY TO THE NECK! “WHAAAAAAAAAAAA…? You would think by my reaction that she would explain a little more but no just another “It’s not too bad” When i talked to my own Dr the next day he explained that she must have meant the neck of the bone. Meanwhile I didn’t even know bones had necks!! The only neck i knew was located directly below my chin! I thought i had a hairline fracture of record lengths.

The same tech as earlier finally came by with 3 tylenol, a glass of water to down them with and finally a turkey sandwich and another glass of water. Hip Hip Hooray-I assume one of my pleas for water and food had finally been answered. I was so hungry that turkey sandwich actually tasted good-real good! Im not sure when this occurred but i believe it was within 45 minutes of discharge at the earliest.

Ok this post is getting too long to hold anyone’s interest so i will just do mostly one liners, less a lot of opinion until the end.

They provided and put my 45 cent sling on twisted 2-3x so that the rough hard polyester straps dug painfully into my neck-the ‘comfort sleeve’ uselessly down my back somewhere.

My knee was never cleaned though the DA actually told me she was going to find someone-The double fake-out UR!

Being a bit confused, i asked -”Exactly where is this fracture again?” “I’m sorry Sir, you’ll need to go to ‘Medical Records’ We can’t give that to you now”.

Before dismissal they took my BP 3 times to get the second number under 100- Final BP 190/97-the upper number higher than when i entered.

They tried to dismiss me and walk me out still in my Hospital gown.

The Security fella who called the taxi for me, and was supposed to advise me when it arrived, disappeared and the taxi waited for me needlessly- all too long, until discovered by myself.

The follow-up Orthopedic Doctor they recommended to me in writing DOESN’T DO ELBOWS/ARMS-only feet and ankles!

The ‘Patient Advocate’ they gave me never returned my call and the next day’s ‘survey person’ did not know her hours.

My personal UNQUALIFIED advice? Unless you are sick or injured to the point you think you may need to be admitted-Go to Urgent Care. See a Shaman. Go to a Midwife. Seek the advice of a Voodoo Priest. Find a Witch Doctor but don’t venture anywhere near E Post RD in White Plains. Below is my knee which was supposed to be in the above where i spoke of it..

UPDATE- Yesterday 6/4, i went for the alleged ‘all healed’ Xray. It still has a ways to go, which i already knew just from the feel of it..

The Xray guy was astounded and told me 3 times if not 4, that i was the only patient in 18 years of Xraying that he had seen with my injury who was able lay his arm flat on the Xray plate!!

He added “I see 3 arms like this every day” Probably the 3 arms a day was a slight exaggeration but who knows? So evidently i am a Superman and perhaps that played some part in the ER folks ignoring me-thinking i didn't have a serious injury. Doesn't excuse them or make them any smarter though.

UPDATE 2 6/13/18

WPH just called me to advise that they did a thorough investigation, what improvements they made-Security Cameras, Wound Care, Triage in the waiting room (which i never faulted them on but is definitely needed) Training in the proper fitting of Slings etc. A couple of others i'm forgeting.

They were very sincere and thankful for my ‘written critique’ to the point I was offered a seat on their ‘Patient/Staff Advisory Council’ though i could have that name slightly off. I declined due to my overall health but i think that showed they were indeed sincere and respectful of me, despite some of the abrasive pokes i took at them in this blog. Im happy to have apparently made a positive difference for future patients.
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  1. Old Comment
    Lonestar_jim's Avatar
    Have some hope, in about 10 years you will give a care less than now and you will forget that you are thirsty or why you are there. I hope you are healing some.
    Posted 05-26-2018 at 07:40 AM by Lonestar_jim Lonestar_jim is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Nostroke's Avatar
    Thanks again-I've already emotionally forgot that day. Im still astounded though-just how bad the ER was in every way possible.

    The arm is supposed to be healed by 5/31 but i think im behind schedule a bit. I can do most everything with it (badly) but i cant lift more than a bag with 2 water bottles in it and some pain continues. It was brutal in the beginning - living alone- and not even being able to open a water bottle. Happy I am well past that now.

    If you finish reading my stories here and like them- there are a few more at


    better pictures etc- I post there first and then copy some of them over here. Thanks again
    Posted 05-26-2018 at 07:56 AM by Nostroke Nostroke is offline

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