04 September 2008

The Surge

8 AM in the ER. The lobby suddenly fills up with middle-aged male patients, all with seemingly trivial complaints. "Feet pain x years," "Rash," "Headache," "Ankle sprain (last week)," and the like. All of the patients have the same address on the demographics.

The local homeless shelter.

They make everybody leave at 8, and when it's raining, they all troop over to the ER where it's warm and dry. The smart ones complain of chest pain, knowing that will probably buy them four or five hours of bed rest, and maybe a meal.

I roust them out as briskly as I can.

It's all part of the routine.


  1. Understood...we get them flooding into the library from the UGM about the same time too..

    Except here they don't get food, just porn.


  2. I work at a drug and alcohol treatment facility across the street from a homeless shelter in Seattle and down the street from several more. We do provide groups for these folks and I hear them discussing my lobby how to stay longer in the ER and how to get free medications. (What to tell the doctors, what the symptoms are, etc.)

    Sadly, the ones who need the treatment won't seek it and those are abusing the services available know all of the ins and outs.

  3. Our homeless are more considerate. Only one or two of them sign in with bogus complaints each morning and the rest just hang out as visitors in the lobby.

  4. @nurse k - Perhaps we can get you homeless to tour the U.S. and speak to their other peers about how to reduce unnecessary use of resources.

  5. SF, you are missing your opportunity to make sure they are registered to vote as democrats

  6. Meh. I live in a deep blue state. It wouldn't make any difference.

    Unless, I also put them on a bus to Ohio. Now *that* is a possibility!

  7. you should suggest that to moveon...


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