Wednesday, June 8, 2011


While we were away on vacation, some friends of ours had to take their children to the hospital. I won't go into specific details, because their story is not mine to tell, but I'd like to comment on the reaction of the hospital's emergency room staff.

When the kids were brought in, the ER staff carefully questioned the parents about what had led to their visit that day. The staff repeatedly questioned my friends, as if they were trying to find some inconsistency in their story. They would ask leading questions such as "Now let me make sure I understand this, x happened, right?" when in fact they had been told, several times, that y was the reason for the visit.

After the parents had been questioned several times, staffers started the same line of questioning on my wife, my kid and me.  At least to me, it felt more like a police interrogation than nursing staff trying to find the answer to important medical questions.

Although the kids did get the necessary medical care they needed, I couldn't help but feel as if my friends were treated with a certain amount of suspicion.  I'm sure it didn't help that we were all wearing old clothes and were muddy and smelly from camping in inclement weather.

The nature of what happened was clearly accidental, and I don't see how any hospital staffer could have interpreted events any other way.  Small children often lack common sense, and they can do stupid things they shouldn't do in a matter of seconds, even if an adult is standing right by.

It felt really bad to watch my friends treated with such suspicion. 


  1. Parents shouldn't have to be paranoid. I know of cases where kids have been denied medical attention because the parents feared being reported to CPS. I also know of lots of cases where doctors have made false reports to CPS just because they felt as if they should cover their asses.

    Teachers are worse though.

  2. Been there a couple of times with my accident prone, sensory seeking child. Last time after the third interrogation I simply told them to ask the child. Even afer that they asked me two more times.

  3. On the subject of suspicion (not kids): I was left out in the ER waiting area for more than an hour, even after the triage nurse openly admitted the shoulder was dislocated, because they kept wanting to know who had really hurt me when both myself and my roommate kept telling them that I had a connective tissue disorder and had a history of spontaneous dislocations (all because they kept insisting that wasn't possible). It wasn't till they took X-rays an hour and a half after it had dislocated (it was still dislocated) that they commented about their being almost no connective tissue inside the shoulder capsule that they finally quit trying to make us insist I'd been abused by someone. The "kicker": when another doctor came in after that and started chewing us out for not having gotten the shoulder treated sooner. I just about exploded!


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