Etiquette School is in session! > The Ehell Guide to Never Behaving Badly

ER Etiquette

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Respect other people's privacy. If you see someone you know or overhear people's conversations, keep it to yourself unless you have spoken to them and you know it is OK to pass it on.

Yes.  Yes.  All of this, yes.

I'm mostly just here being the choir to be sung to.  But a few peds-specific rules:

Corollary to Rule #1 of All ERs Everywhere:  The Waiting Game!  Yes, there is a wait, even for children, though we do bring kids with certain problems directly into the ER even if they may not "look" sick (think asthmatics).  We really will see your child as soon as possible, but patience is the name of the game.  It also may take some time for assessment/treatment/consults with specialists once you're in here.  Please don't yell about how long you've been here; we'd like you to leave as soon as possible too. 

Corollary to #10:  We really do understand that it can be difficult or impossible in an emergency to find child care for the sick child's siblings.  That said, this is not a day care and it's a bad idea on a whole lot of levels to bring your kids in here.  If you really have to, you have to at least attempt to keep them corralled and under control.

If you are concerned with or disagree with what the doctor has or has not prescribed or ordered for your child, despite all the aforegoing frustrations, yelling/demanding/threatening the medical personnel is a really lousy way of getting what you want.

A couple of veterinary-specific ones:

1. Yes, you will have to pay. Tonight. I know, I really do, it sucks for everyone to have a big vet bill-and at the ER it will probably be big-sprung on you. Please, please, don't yell at us that we're just in it for the money. Especially these days, the staff you're yelling at has likely had their hours cut, they live in fear of being laid off, and their employer had to scrape to pay their vendors last month.

2. Please try not to bring your pet in when you have been heavily indulging in mind-altering substances. Yes, OK, that's some people's idea of fun at 2 AM and I'm not here to judge you, but drunks and stoners have a hard time making decisions.

3. Don't call us first, describe your pet's symptoms, and argue with us about whether you really need to bring it in. You called me, dude. Unless it's something extremely simple, that's what I'm advising.

4. We are not Animal Control. Don't call us to come get a stray. And don't you dare abandon an unwanted pet here.

5. Knock it off with the prank calls. We're busy here.

6. Please don't make me explain everything to you, then call your spouse and hand me the phone and make me explain it all over again.

7. No, I'm sorry, you can't sit next to your pet's cage in the treatment area. I've tried it and it was a crippling distraction.


Try not to puke in the carpark outside the ER. It makes a mess and annoys the ambulance staff.

How do I know this?  :-X :-[


Don't try to strike up conversations with other patients in the waiting room.  Yes you may be bored but they could be very distracted by pain/nausea/concentrating on breathing and probably aren't looking to make a new friend but will feel rude if they don't respond to you.  It puts people in an awkward position. 

Don't downplay your symptoms/suffering.  If you aren't used to being ill and hate to complain its hard to break the habit and really open up about how bad you feel.  But the doctors need this information to treat you and there are no prizes for stoicism!


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