St. Barnabas Medical Center Livingston NJ Informative - Attitude is Everything

Review by noninoni on 2010-08-01
LIVINGSTON, NEW JERSEY -- On Friday, July 30, 2010..I unfortunately had to go to the ER at St. Barnabas for treatment. I was there for almost 5 hours while different tests were performed and I have to say that there was quite a mixture of service, personnel and attitudes.

Simply put, the nurse who entered me into the initial treatment system at the front desk, a male nurse named Frank, was very helpful. My wait was not too long and I was escorted to a treatment room.

Several medical staff came in to inquire, take vitals etc.

The ER Dr., a female was just wonderful and the best part "she listened attentively".

Then as time passed, I became hungry and as a diabetic, needed to get something to eat. I asked two people that I was able to make eye contact with and one said, "I'm not your nurse". No further comment. The my assigned nurse appeared, never introduced herself nor did she ask any questions such as what's your name or are you hot, cold, or need to use the restroom. She saw me in my street clothes and said"where are you going" as though I was about to run out the front door...no concern expressed beyond that.

It went down hill from there.

All and all, do not go to the ER and expect anyone to be pleasant or curteous.

I finally did get a sandwhich from a complete stranger and was very grateful.

Have we lost sight of manners and professionalism? Too bad because I think St. Barnabas is a good hospital, what it isn't is polite.
Comments:22 Replies - Latest reply on 2010-08-01
Posted by raven2010 on 2010-08-01:
wait, what?? A complete stranger in an ER had a sandwich? Come on!

Was this a full service hospital? Did someone bring you in? Could they have gone to the cafeteria or a close restaurant to get you food?

Why would you expect the hospital to feed you? They might have OJ,Ensure etc, for diabetics, but it shouldnt be expected IMHO. If there was an issue with your blood sugar, it could have been treated with whatever you went in for.
Posted by V on 2010-08-01:
In this type of situation, always ask for the Head or Charge Nurse of the ER. Give them about 10 minutes to answer. If no one comes, go to the ER Nurses desk and say, "I would like to see the Head or Charge Nurse, now, please." and do not go back to your room with out seeing them. Or you can always ask for a Patient Coordinator (though this *will* take longer).
Posted by raven2010 on 2010-08-01:
I wonder if the OP has considered the fact that diabetic or not, whatever they went to the ER for , the test may have prevented eating. For example, last time I went in with abdominal pain, I could eat because they might have had to zap my appendix

Turned out to be yet another kidney stone that was referring pain to my tummy instead of back. However, blood sugar or not, I could not eat while they were figuring out what was up

Posted by V on 2010-08-01:
raven, if some one is in the ER and the are a diabetic, the hospital *is* supposed to feed them as well as manage/check there blood sugar levels.
Posted by V on 2010-08-01:
Raven, that is a good point, but the patient should have been told that and given D5 (dextrose) via IV to help with the blood sugar.
Posted by raven2010 on 2010-08-01:
Mrs V, I agree 110%--however, something isn't kosher with the review. It doesn't follow logic---

I sincerely doubt as complete stranger would happen to be harboring a sandwich, and I REALLLY doubt a ER staff would allow it to be eaten by an ER patient---

after all, if you are in the Er, it should be am emergency--and one usually cannot eat during a medical emergency--diabetic or not. thats what IV's are for
Posted by V on 2010-08-01:
Belive it or not, I've been in the ER with my husband (who is a diabetic) and the wonderful nursing staff brought us both dinner (when they only had to feed him).

And I don't know about the "I finally did get a sandwhich from a complete stranger and was very grateful." comment. I don't understand that, but I have been in hospitals where the staff was rude and not attentive.

I can see someone overhearing the OP tring to get a sandwich and going out to the vending machines to get her one to be nice ***note, this really should NEVER be done, though****
Posted by raven2010 on 2010-08-01:
good points mrs V----I try not to be cynical, but this review just screams shenanigans to me, based on my own personal experience.
Posted by V on 2010-08-01:
I can understand that ^_^

But I have seen the darngest things when I worked in the ER (old Greater Laurel Beltsville Hospital).

And not knowing what the OP was in the ER for (could have been a broken leg, so eating would be ok and no IV would have been given most likely) I can't really say what she is saying is true or not.

But, I'll give her the benifit of the doubt ^_^
Posted by raven2010 on 2010-08-01:
No IV for a broken leg? When a friend took me in for a broken wrist, I had an IV for pain/nausea and was point blank told not to eat while they figured out if they needed to do surgery to put in pins.

I guess different ER's work different ways.
Posted by V on 2010-08-01:
Ouchies >_< Did you have a compound or spiral fracture? That would change things a bit. If it is a bad enough break to require surgery, then IVs and NPO would be necessary.

But if it is a simple or chipped fracture, then no IVs (pills for pain) and food is ok ^_^
Posted by raven2010 on 2010-08-01:
It was compound---I swear, the pain was worse than even my monster kidney stones. Two docs went back on forth on the pins issue and decided it wasn't required.

The IV was for phenergan ( I am sure i spelled that wrong) same, nausea stuff they give me for my kidney stones, and something for pain, but I cant recall what.
Posted by Ben There on 2010-08-01:
"do not go to the ER and expect anyone to be pleasant or curteous."... while I think it is never nice to be treated rudely, there is a HUGE difference between the customer service I expect from a store or a restaurant and an ER.

I would much rather have tough as nails nurses who know what they are doing, then one to caters to my every need on my schedule like a waiter at a 5 star restaurant. I am normally in an ER cause I don't want to die from something or I am in really bad pain...
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-08-01:
I used to work prehospital emergency care as an EMT and have spend quite a bit of time in the ER. Once I've turned over my patient to the nurse, they are no longer my patient, I have to get a fast turnaround and get back on the road.

If an ER patient (and they were not ny patient) asked me for help, the only way I would help them is if it was something simple (and I had the time), like go find the head nurse. I would not have opened myself up to a lawsuit by providing food OR water to any patient, or even any kind of medical care at that point, it's not my place.

Not everyone you meet in the ER works there.
Posted by Venice09 on 2010-08-01:
I've spent a lot of time in ERs with family members and when it's busy, it's impossible to give all the patients as much attention as they deserve. That's just the way it is.

I agree with Ben. I'd rather have a Dr. House on my case than someone who is just going to make me feel comfortable.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-08-01:
I forgot to mention an exception -- I've continued CPR on a patient even after doing turn over, because all the staff wasn't available to take over, yet.
Posted by V on 2010-08-01:
raven, double ouchies!! Compounds are just the worst!

I was often busy in the ER, but was never ever rude or short with a patient or family.

A simple, "Oh! I'm sorry, I'm not your nurse but I will let them know at the desk that you're looking for her/him." is all that's needed. UNLESS it seems to be an emergency. All bets are off then, lol.
Posted by Venice09 on 2010-08-01:
I agree that there's no reason to be rude, but rude and rushed are two different things. As we see from the complaints here, the perception of rude varies widely. I absolutely agree that the nurse should have said she would let the desk know. I don't think it's right to just say I'm not your nurse and walk away, even in an emergency.
Posted by Ben There on 2010-08-01:
ER nurses prioritize based on how critical each patient is. Honestly, if you are getting the most attention from the most nurses, it is probably because you are close to dying.

I have witnessed a loved one crash in an ER - out of nowhere there were 4 nurses, a doctor, and a flurry of activity as the ER bed was tilted 60 degrees to keep blood flowing to the brain. I have never been so scared in my life watching that, and I would much rather be the one waiting 5 hours for some tests and an glass of juice.
Posted by Venice09 on 2010-08-01:
Ben, that says it all. I've been in similar situations and feel exactly the same way.
Posted by V on 2010-08-01:
I do understand, Ben. And you are correct that emergencys come first. But I have also seen one emergency beening handled in one room and someone, that seemed just fine 10 minutes ago, crash in another room.

Just because one patient is in distrest does not mean that all the nurses are (or should be) attending to that patient.

It would have been just as bad if the OP is diabetic, didn't get food (or IV care) when she needed it, and crashed into a diabetic coma.

A nurse, when asked for something (even if it isn't their patient) should weigh and analyze what that patient asks for (a blanket versus a bed pan versus a nurse because they just through up blood, ect) before the nurse answers.

Just because the patient was triaged once does not mean that it should be done again. Many times, if that is what is needed.

Posted by V on 2010-08-01:
Just because the patient was triaged once does not mean that it should ***not*** be done again. Many times, if that is what is needed.

(wouldn't let me edit >_<)

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