Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Slopers Unhappy With Methodist Hospital Emergency Room

November 21st, 2008 · 17 Comments

There are few Brooklyn hospitals about which one doesn’t hear horror stories, but a perrennial favorite is Methodist Hospital on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope. Today, our dear friends at Park Slope Parents bring two such tales of uplifting visits to Methodist’s emergency rooom. There is this:

We had a horrible experience at Methodist’s emergency room on Tuesday. My husband woke up in the middle of the night with intense dizziness (we think it was a vertigo attack). He could barely get out of bed, but after this went on for eight hours and wasn’t getting better, we called his doctor’s office and they told him to go to the emergency room. We went to Methodist, signed in at the front desk and waited for two hours never even being called to triage. The waiting room was full; most people were in much better shape than he was. We asked at the front desk a couple of times if there was a place where he could lay down while he was waiting and they said no (he really should have been laying down in his condition). After two hours he couldn’t take it any more and we had to go home. Luckily, later that night, he started to feel better. I was appalled at the fact that he was in such bad shape and he wasn’t even seen by a nurse to access the problem. What if it was something more serious like an aneurism? Are all emergency rooms like this, or is Methodist particularly awful? I wonder if I should send them a complaint. Does anyone know how to go about this?

Here’s another email about the great state of emergency rooom care at Methodist:

we had the same problem. Took my 6 year old into the emergency room with a deep cut to his head. Waited 2 hours while blood was pouring down his head. I ended up calling 311 who game me the direct number of patient relations and as soon as I got off the phone with her, he was in triage!? Went straight to the Dr and was seen straight away! Horrible horrible, and the worse part was there were no other kids in there, and the kids have a different emergency room than adults, we were just waiting on triage. It was disgusting. The fact that? I had to ask for something to hold on his head 3 times was unforgivable! Possibly the last time we will go there.

On the bright side, at least it wasn’t Long Island College Hospital.

Tags: Park Slope · Uncategorized

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 anonymous // Nov 21, 2008 at 11:11 am

    These stories could have been written about any, and I mean ANY, ER in this city. One of the significant flaws in our health care system is that many people use ERs as their source of primary health care, clogging up the pipeline and making wait times excessive.

    The first commenter had the unfortunate experience of having his own physician direct him to an ER for what was a frightening but benign condition. He should have been directed to come in to that doctor’s office in the AM.

    The second commenter has a legitimate gripe: no bleeding kid should be made to wait.

    I’ve had personal and professional associations with the Methodist ER for 20 years and have seen that facility improve drastically in that time. I, and friends and family members, have been attended to in medically responsible ways with each visit. There’s no doubt that the commenters above felt mistreated and, in the case of the second commenter, probably was.
    But, Methodist is not unique in this regard and PSP continues to be mostly a message board for whiners, anyway.

  • 2 DAILY SLOPE | Park Slope Neighborhood, Brooklyn, NY » Methodist Hospital ER Earning Bad Grades // Nov 21, 2008 at 11:23 am

    […] Lounge just posted a couple of not-so-nice stories from Park Slope Parents about recent visits to the Methodist Hospital ER. This would come as no […]

  • 3 pete // Nov 21, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Most of us know that emergency rooms are often very slow and crowded.
    But, sorry, my guess is that this (both) person sounds like a typical self-entitled over-dramatic whiners and is not used to being treated like one of the masses.
    There condition is always more severe, immediate and when don’t get attention someone in their class deserve – they only get pushier.

  • 4 "Whiner" // Nov 21, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Pete, you are WRONG. Several years ago I took a family member to the ER at Methodist who had an acute attack of diverticulitis and was hemorraging (I won’t get into details). The person at the desk looked at my family member and said “I don’t see any blood.” I went ballistic and demanded a triage nurse immediately (and a diaper). If I had not gone ballistic, my family member would have bled to death in the ER. I was (and am not) an over-dramatic whiner. My rant saved a life. You cannot ever assume someone’s medical condition is benign or over-dramatic or pushy. Don’t ever do that. You are not a doctor and not in a position to judge.

  • 5 Sam // Nov 21, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    I had a similar shitty experience at Methodist (although I also had a shitty experience at the LICH ER so I tend to thinks ER’s are a shitty waste of money) Basically, I got hit by car when riding my bike one morning and broke my pinky, not the most life threatening on injuries but regardless I went to their ER. They actually sent me in for X-rays within 15-20 minutes of me getting there, i couldn’t believe it! Unfortunately they fuked them up and then made me sit there for about 3 hours without telling me what was going on. Also, when they took of the splint the ambulance had put on me they didn’t give me new gauze and left me there dripping blood on the floor! I had to ASK them for some extra gauze to keep their hospital sanitary. Then, when I was getting released my parents told me (since I was in an accident, and had no health insurance) to make sure they looked at anything that hurt just incase. So, before I left I asked them to just take a look at my legs which were feeling quite sore and bruised and they wouldn’t! They just said your fine and rushed me out of there. ER’s are a joke. If you have a problem you should skip the ER and just goto a specialist if you can. Better care, less money.

  • 6 Brenda from Flatbush // Nov 21, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    “My rant saved a life.” Exactly. If you are unlucky enough to wind up in the ER with a loved one, RANT, BABY. Follow your instincts and kick some uncaring nursey ass; it could save your life. (See the story of the mother who lost both hands and feet to sepsis in Brooklyn Hospital recently who was sent home with pain meds.) I have saved several lives through ER rants, although I have the unfair advantage of being a medical writer who can “speak doctor.” Once you start “speaking doctor,” their eyes snap open and then congeal in terror of a lawsuit and you get seen. If you do not wish to learn medical terminology, it is helpful to at least learn to bandy about the phrases “medical neglect,” “actionable,” and “May I have your full name?” while jotting furiously in a notepad and checking the time. I am absolutely serious. By the way, I have experienced the Maimonides ER (which has a separate kiddie ER) to be mobbed three gurneys deep but full of live-wire people practicing real medicine on the fly (as opposed to the usual city-ER atmosphere of a sleepy Mexican town during siesta, only full of neglected people in agony). And if you’re shot or otherwise immediately dying, go straight to Kings County; they’re a charnel house once you’re admitted, but their critical care rocks because they get so much practice as GSW central.

    Unfortunately, what we really need is a Doc-in-the-Box (First Med, etc.), as they have in the suburbs, a so-called “urgent care center” for non-emergency stuff that can’t wait til morning. But it seems that the for-profit co’s that run them are smart enough not to locate them in urban areas with bottomless pits of uninsured patients…

  • 7 neighbor // Nov 21, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    I’ve been hearing insane horrible NYC ER stories all my life. The only difference is now they are in blogs instead of small talk.
    Our healthcare system is in a shambles. Let’s hoep Ted Kennedy lives long enough to get some fixes through Congress and on Obama’s desk. It’s a tought tough tough thing to do.
    If you are in severe emergency, you MUST bring someone with you to rant and demand.
    Some ERS are better than others. The Methodist is generally ok but like all city ERs, it can get overwhelmed.

  • 8 anonymous // Nov 21, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Brenda hath writeth:

    I have saved several lives through ER rants

    “medical neglect,” “actionable”

    Wow. I’m sure you’re just the most popular medical writer in any ER. Imagine how much money you could make working for one of those 1-900 sex talk lines. Those quotes are just such turn-ons.

  • 9 JC // Nov 21, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    I would avoid Methodist whenever possible. The best hospitals are in Manhattan and their “satellites” that exist in the boroughs only bear name, not their reputation. To wit, I once visited Methodist ER with chest pains. After three hours in the waiting room, they sat me in a chair in the ER at 3:00 a.m. And I just sat and sat when to my astonishment several members of the staff (an MD included) began to play “bumper cars” with their swivel chairs. I then got up and walked the few blocks home figuring if I dropped dead, the result would be no different than if I’d stayed in the hospital.

  • 10 Lauren // Nov 21, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    This time last year I went with my boyfriend to the Methodist ER three times before they finally admitted him with Meningitis.

    The first time went at about 2am and waited three hours. He told them he’s had the worst headache of his life for over a week. They gave told him he had a migraine and gave him painkillers.

    The next day we went at about 5pm and waited six hours before just going home.

    He was finally admitted after we called an ambulance (for the two block ride).

  • 11 D // Nov 21, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Whenever you’re looking for healthcare at a hospital (any hospital) make sure you have an advocate with you. It’s not like dropping your car off at the mechanic. Unfortunately, medical mistakes (minor and major) are common and unless you pay careful attention you will be a victim in addition to being a patient. Patients who demand accountability in hospitals get treated better than people who politely remain silent.

  • 12 Dr Dan says // Nov 21, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Never sit in an ER for 2 hours! If you can sit that long you probably do not need to be there. If you really do need to be seen and are getting nowhere with the triage staff, complain of chest pain, you’ll get seen immediately.

  • 13 Red Hook // Nov 21, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Methodist is no worse than any other city emergency room.

    Sometimes I read the stories on here and scratch my head. You waited two hours for triage? Have you BEEN to an ER in the last 20 years? That’s your complaint? It’s an ER. The doctors are treating people with life threatening injuries.

    As for JC’s comment about waiting for three hours with chest pains… Impossible. Walk into any emergency room and say you have chest pains, you will be seen immediately. You will be immediately be given an echocardiogram. But no emergency room, NONE, ZERO, PERIOD, will ignore someone with chest pains.

  • 14 bigring55t // Nov 21, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    I second the crappy ER. I’ve had a variety of bad experiences there, even with people who wound up being admitted, not just minor flesh wounds. Of course, it got worse after they were admitted.

  • 15 Brenda from Flatbush // Nov 21, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Apparently not, Dr. Dan (see: JC, above). However, coming in by ambulance (not ambulette) is still a good way to get people’s attention.

  • 16 p // Nov 21, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    I west there with what turned out to be bad heartburn, but mixed with the fact it was 4 days after 9/11 I’m pretty sure it was mixed with an panic attack.. I sat for 4 hours they ran an EKG said I was fine and sent me home and told me to see my local doctor. I had no health insurance as I was laid off in the dot com crash a few months before, and they billed me for 3000 for an EKG and I never saw one of the doctors on the bill.

    I called every doctor on the bill and had it reduced to a 200 dollar tab, but if I wasn’t unemployed at the time would not have had the time or patience to do that.

    But what is scary is LICH is 100000% worse.

  • 17 maria // Nov 22, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    I have had reason to experience several ERs in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, specialty (peds, orthopedic, etc) as well as general ERs.
    As so many noted, too many people need the ERs for primary care, there hospitals short staff, the care does vary on the day of the week and time of day, etc. etc.
    My most recent trip happened in June and I chose Methodist over LICH because of horrendous waits at LICH. It was an odd experience for me- I reported in, sat down and was immediately whisked into the ER. I wasn’t bleeding, had no pain and felt fine, except that I couldn’t see out of one eye.
    I was attended by a smart, caring young doctor from down south who was careful and attentive. He actually called my opthalmologist and left a message (it was a Sunday morning) with her AND my GP. I had call backs and appointments quickly and surgery within days. I am still in awe of the care I received at Methodist that Sunday. Maybe it was luck of the draw, but they are #1 with me.