Plagued with a highly contagious plague as we currently are, it has made me wonder whether visits to A&E for symptoms unrelated to Coronavirus have now reduced and indeed whether these unrelated symptoms were in fact serious enough to warrant a visit to A&E in the first place. After all, who in their right mind wants to now sit in a full waiting room for 4 hours next to people who may have gone in for some other complaint but might also unwittingly be incubating Covid-19?
My question to you therefore is… in ‘normal’ times, do you think people go to A&E unnecessarily in the first place?
Working in a hospital as I do, I’ve heard stories where for example women have gone to A&E at night because they have run out of sanitary protection and the shops have closed. Parents have taken children there not with broken limbs, but with run-of-the-mill common colds.
My eldest son was once hyperactive and on the go from morn ’till night. One day I was in the kitchen preparing lunch, and Leon (a very sure-footed 3 and a half year old) was upstairs playing with a box of toy cars. Suddenly I heard the words … “I’m going to jump down the stairs!”
I could shout in those days, and immediately yelled at him not to jump as I ran towards the staircase. Too late… for the first (and last) time in his young life, Leon had indeed jumped from the upstairs landing and ended up with a thud in the hallway next to the front door. Unfortunately he has always had to learn by his own mistakes, and at that precise moment his screaming proved that jumping down an entire staircase had not been one of his better ideas.
He wasn’t unconscious and seemed to suffer no ill-effects. However, I whisked him round to A&E straight away. He had an x-ray of his head, but was absolutely fine. Now then… would I have taken him in today’s plague-ridden situation if he had been just screaming from the shock of landing but was otherwise unhurt?
Hmm… I wonder. I cannot help but feel grateful that my sons are now both in their thirties.
By the way, the next day when I arrived home from Playschool with him there was a lady waiting in my front garden who introduced herself as a social worker. Her first words to me after the introduction were “I’ve been told that your son has had a head injury.” I immediately inwardly panicked that she may have thought I’d inflicted the injury on him and was about to take him into ‘care’ (don’t get me started on the ‘Care’ system). I turned to Leon and told him to tell the social worker why I’d taken him to hospital. Thankfully with no prompting from myself, very loud and proudly he announced that he had jumped down the stairs. The woman laughed and to my relief didn’t even bother coming in.
There were a couple of other visits to A&E with Leon; once when aged about 8 he ran into a wall (as you do) in his school playground and his chin needed stitching up, and another when his employer took him there when he was 16 and had started his apprenticeship as an air-conditioning engineer and freeze-burned both hands.
Perhaps this plague will make people think twice about going to Accident & Emergency when it is really NOT an emergency. I hope so.