I am writing to you today to share the poor experience that I received last night in the ER of Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital. I presented to ER at approximately 7:45pm due to persistent numbness and tingling in my extremities. I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and am currently experiencing a significant amount of joint pain as well; however, this numbness in my limbs has not happened before and I was concerned. When I checked in at the desk, I was made to feel as if I was simply seeking treatment as a result of pain; the insinuation that I was seeking narcotics. When should a triage nurse be judging my decision to seek treatment or whether or the extent of my pain? I am a Registered Nurse myself and in that moment, I truly felt as if I was a substance abuser of some sort. I was questioned as to why I didn’t simply see my family doctor or pursue treatment from my rheumatologist. I told the nurse that I contacted my rheumatologist’s office and it was instructed that I obtain a referral to a neurologist but that my pain and numbness were worsening so I sought treatment at Joseph Brant. Additionally, I am currently caring for two premature babies (now 14 months corrected), born at 24 weeks gestational age, one of whom is on continuous oxygen therapy. The nurse was curt when she told me that the ultrasounds closed at 4pm and asked me whether I read the side-effects for one of my medications, Lyrica, as it might be the reason. I am an educated person and I was made to feel like a moron, a substance abuser, and someone who shouldn’t be pursuing services at that time.

I waited over three hours (I have no problem waiting and I understand that the severity of my ailments were significantly less than others’) only to learn that there was only one doctor working in the busy ER. That is completely unacceptable! Since wait times are such a critical component of receiving federal funding for health care, I wanted to highlight my experience at Joseph Brant Hospital. I hope that those who check in and do not stay to receive treatment are included in the statistics submitted to the federal government.

Thank you for your time.