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The madness begins

Sunday evening, I took my daughter to the emergency room at Baylor hospital.  We went there for help with severe dehydration, after not being able to keep anything down for over 12 hours.  This was also having a negative impact on her blood glucose levels, she is a type-1 diabetic.  Before you feel too bad for her, it was her own decision to eat hamburger pizza that she left out all night and part of the next day.  It was also her choice to eat a freshly baked, two-week-old cookie that she hid in her room.

Waiting room blues

During her intake interview with the triage nurse, a middle-aged man came to a grinding halt just outside the emergency room doors.  He then jumped out of his enormous Ford truck, without regard for any of the previously arrived patients, screams “I need help for my daughter and I need it now”!  I’m not surprised by this, especially since it’s an emergency room, pretty much everyone there needed help now.  After spotting a nurse at the desk, he stops her from talking to the current patient, and orders her to attend to his daughter.   He provided her with the details of her “home diagnosis” and her intestinal valve blockage due to pregnancy.

No one in earshot knew what that meant. To the credit of the attending nurse, despite his discourteous behavior, she said “I’m gon call someone to come help you right now, ok suga”.  After three entire minutes, no one has come and the guy is visibly and audibly frustrated.  Strutting and stomping the entire length of the waiting area, we are all forced to listen to him berate the nurses and the hospital staff.  We were all advised that every patient room in the ER was full and that there would be a wait.  Patients with barely attached limbs caused by a car accident were the priority.  If you were not bleeding or otherwise dismantled, you would have to wait your turn.  You know, triage…

Calmly, the nurse explains again, nobody is available to help him get the patient out of the car. “Bubba” found a wheelchair and gets daughter out of the pick-up.  She wailed with the same intensity as a person on fire.  Still, no nurses have arrived.

Bye Bubba

Don’t you know who I am

He went around to the ER doors and tried to get through, shaking them. No luck “Bubba”. They take her info, and send her back out to the waiting room. “Bubba” is like fuck this, and calls 911. In comes a security guy, and wants to talk.  Satisfied with “Bubba’s” story, the security guard walks away. “Bubba” is still not for the song and dance going on in the ER!  Daughter says, I’m feeling sick.  “Bubba” tells daughter “just throw up on the floor, they aren’t helping us anyway”. During this madness, his truck remained right in front of the ER doors. No ticket given, no request to have it moved. No ambulance arrived.

911 doesn’t understand why “Bubba” is calling from the ER, requesting an ambulance to take him to a different ER.  Imagine that.

“Bubba’s” privilege had successfully impeded the progress of my daughter’s treatment.  All the disturbance he created prevented the head staff nurse from starting an IV for my severely dehydrated child. She left to contend with security and soothing an irate father.  I could not believe his arrogance.  I understand the concern that a father has for his child, believe me I do.  After all, I was there for the same reason.

Most Parents

My primary concern in this moment was securing help for my child.  Everyone in that ER had the same things on their minds, but submitted to the “order” of things except “Bubba”. After having time to review the details of the day, I realized that all the interference disparate treatment we experienced comes from 3 places.

  1. The confidence and entitlement “Bubba learned as a child has permeated all aspects of his existence, thus giving him the unmitigated gall to act accordingly during his emergency.
  2. The vehement declaration of his rights convinced all the non-white female hospital staff, that attending to his demands outweighed their procedural training and good judgment.
  3. Simply, our race made us less important during challenging moments.
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What’s left

Unfortunately, the solution to this issue is sold separately.  I can identify the problem, and convey my sentiments, but the necessary solution is a global one. All I have left is an observation that continues to mystify my understanding of humanity. Many believe that privilege is an abstract topic best situated in the halls of academia, while those that live with the adversity daily know better.  This lighthearted conversation covering a serious topic  denies that concept, by illustrating one of many scenarios occurring daily.  Its not that I think that I am coming from a place of no privilege, what I am saying is that mine isn’t quite inalienable.

Please leave your comments below, let me know your thoughts.  Talking about it is the only option.

 

25 comments

  1. Wow. I’m sorry to hear about your daughter and that you had to go through this situation. Unfortunately, there are people like this in the world who see themselves and their problems as top priority. Only when we are able to understand the experiences of others will we be able to change, in my opinion.

    1. I think you have made a great point Brittney. We never really know what the people around us are like until we see them in certain situations. I would like to see it change for the better.

  2. Well first and foremost Regg I hope your daughter is doing well now. It wasn’t recent that I had my youngest one in ER as well and I can only imagine what you had to deal with. It is unfortunate that others feel that their own problems puts them above others but it’s the world we live in. My only opinion of this other person is they didn’t know how to handle the situation but to only panic. It happens, we learn from it as most as we can, and move on.

    1. Thanks Ken. I think it’s very strong of you to be willing to see all perspectives. You know that can be hard sometimes. Especially when you are involved. I have been thinking about it a lot and I don’t blame the guy but more what he was never told. If that make sense. Either way we all have work to do. I sure appreciate you sharing. Btw. She is just fine.

  3. Regg, this was a profound read and I felt like I was right there with you when this happened. I’m hoping your daughter won’t make the same mistake again, also I’m hoping “Bubba” in spite of his privilege had a crossroads moment. All the screaming and yelling in the world, doesn’t give you a pass to skip lawful and ethical practice.

  4. If I had a quarter for every I tell my kids not to do something and they do it any way, money would never be an issue. Amen? In reading this, my mind played out the scene and in such a vivid way. Thinking back in my life I’ve been in the role of “Bubba”, maybe in a less intense way of being when it came to my children but then I learned that my children aren’t the only one’s on earth. This sounds like Bubba was scared for his daughter but sometimes when we panic as parents we forget that our children are watching us and that they follow by our example in growing up. I see many “privileged” or “entitled” children and I feel so sorry for them because they had to learn it from somewhere. I pray for healing with your daughter and the way you maintained composure is honorable. This builds me up stronger in my way of raising my children and leading the way for others. Thank you for showing your heart. This is definitely a global problem but it can stop with us leading by example for one child at a time.

    1. Candace you know I like the way you made the connection between this issue and what we are taught as kids. I think that this is definitely getting to the root of it. Maybe there is more learning to be done there.

  5. I think primary concern of medical practitioner should always be their patient. I hope your daughter is ok and acts like this should not happen anymore.

  6. You have gone through a lot.. People like these are everywhere.. We too have a disturbing vip culture where people routinely boss around..

  7. There are really very demanding patients who think they have the worst problem in the ER. Just their luck they had to be in a very busy, short-staffed ER. However, unless we do know what his daughter really has, we cannot really say that he was over-diagnosing her condition.

    1. I guess I could have included. She was pregnant, and was having premature contractions. The family who were in the waiting room discussed it prior to leaving.

  8. I’ve been to an ER before and my experience was not that far from yours. Everyone wants to be attended first. I hope your daughter is fine.

  9. I hope you daughter is okay now. How is she?

    That`s a complicated situation you witnessed. People act and respond differently especially in emergency rooms.

    I hope more hospitals will hire enough staffs to attend to most patients. Hopefully, they can also provide comfortable sitting or resting areas for patients that are waiting. It was difficult for my mother who was often hospitalized. She often had to sit hours in her wheelchair because there were no beds available in the emergency room.

    ❀ Grace ❀

    1. I really wish that there was more staff in emergency services. Maybe people would feel like their needs were being better met.

  10. I hope your daughter is okay now. Regardless of race, some people are just plain inconsiderate and selfish. However, since I do not know the “Bubba’s” story and the reason of the “emergency”, I reserve judgment. I just hope everyone got the relief and care for their ailments.

    1. Thank you for stopping in and leaving a comment. All is well and also I think many of you are correct. I also think there was several things at work. Progress is very slow.

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