Last week, my husband had to call 911 due to extreme stomach pain I was experiencing. The Swampscott Fire Department came and did a phenomenal job assessing me and putting me at ease with the ongoing situation. They suggested I go to the hospital with the EMTs to be evaluated.
One of the EMTs was absolutely unprofessional. He told me I would not be receiving any narcotics and that I should’ve seen my primary care doctor first. He made other comments that made me appear as a substance abuser, and invalidated the pain and issue I was experiencing. Once I got to the emergency room they brought me to the waiting room because they were busy with “serious things.”
I have been an RN for almost ten years and was appalled at how this was handled. I understand that the opiate epidemic is a reality, but i can not understand how emergency medical workers are so hardened to those seeking care. Medical professionals with the attitude and outlook that most patients are seeking drugs is a very large part of the stigma of all those affected by the opiate crisis. I believe breaking this stigma is a large piece of fighting this.
That day I was diagnosed with kidney stones, a diagnosis that carries a reputation for some of the highest pain levels. It is a shame that those caring for the sick have lost their sensitivity empathy, two of the most important traits of providing care to others. How are those seeking care able to do so with prejudice on the other side? I know from experience that there are many professional EMTs in our area, but perhaps some could benefit from stepping back and seeing a patient as a whole person.
Brittany Lawrence, RN