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The ER as a First Step

I recently ran into an acquaintance and asthmatic at the local recreation center. They mentioned that they had been unwell and recently been to the ER for a chest infection and were prescribed an antibiotic and steroids. When I asked if their family doctor respirologist was away they, answered no, I couldn’t quite understand why they chose the ER. In my town, the ER doctors are notoriously not on top of the GINA guidelines or even well versed in the nuance of asthma care.

ERs may not always be the best to care of an asthmatic’s nuances

While I do not know them super well, I was surprised and heartbroken when they told me that if they went to the doctor, and then to the lab for imaging that the financial the burden of taxi/rideshare etc. would be too costly, also that it would be so taxing on them that they would not be able to cope. I definitely understand all the reasons but there was something still gnawing at me, how can going to the ER and spending countless hours there because you are not a priority and the fact that ER docs are seldom in tune with the care that you might need as a complex asthmatic. I personally would see my respirologist In my experience ER doctors are usually quick to prescribe an antibiotic and a steroid and send you out the door. This is also seen as the role of your family doctor and a waste of emergency resources. I just couldn’t understand choosing the ER. It wasn’t new news that the mostly public health system in my province is so broken that someone, would choose the ER as one-stop care, also that as a patient thought this was the best option. The disparity in this just has nor been sitting well with me. What would your ideal care situation look like? Are you cared for in a clinic that houses blood work, imaging, on-call doctors? Have you felt this way, that it would just be easier to go to the ER than deal with a system that was not designed or optimized for patient use? This had me thinking of how can we better bring care to patients, surely there should be a service that could have assisted with getting them to appointments or perhaps bring the diagnostics to them? In the age of telemedicine, apps, and technology, there surely has to be a better answer. What have you wished for as a patient?

Need for more places for proper asthma care curing emergencies

I would wish for there to be more centers of excellence that patients could access or an increase in the knowledge base for family physicians and emergency docs. One of the concerns that they expressed is they thought their baseline care needed to be tweaked and I think from a preventing exacerbation standpoint that we may need to start there. How as patients can we produce these kinds of change?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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