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Seasoned with Sage
Compassionate Triage: Standing Up for Elderly Patients

As Doctor Pru stood there reading the file her mouth turned down into a frown.

"Who triaged this patient?" She called out across the room to anyone who would pay her attention. Everyone ignored her except me. I knew whose file she had and I knew she'd make a fuss, not because there was a problem, but because she loved to pick faults and seemed to relish making people squirm in front of her.

"A name would help, Pru," I said, "Whose file you got there?"

Pru glanced at the file in her hand. "Mrs. Smith. Did you triage Mrs. Smith?" She said accusingly. "Yeah, I did. What's the problem?" I asked.

"Could you tell me why she's in the triage 3 box? She's at most a four, or maybe even a five. For goodness sake, why? Why? Why?"

"Well, she is 93 years old, Pru. She's from a rest home, and it was a big deal getting here. They had to get an ambulance to get her here, then have to arrange one to take her back. She's got a care giver sitting with her as well. I'd thought I'd sneak her in first. It just doesn't seem right to let a 93-yr-old lady wait for three or four hours," I explained.

Pru sighed and rolled her eyes, "We do not triage on age," she said as if this was the end of the argument and placed her file in the triage four box.

"But Pru, it'll only take ten minutes to get her fixed. All we need is for you to take a look at her and I'll do the rest. C'mon, Pru, I'm not going to leave a frail old lady sitting there for ages."

Pru grabbed Mrs. Smith's file from the drawer. I felt hope. She then put it in the triage five box. She grabbed another triage three file and marched out to the room.

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One Response to “Compassionate Triage: Standing Up for Elderly Patients”

  1. Nancy Says:

    Wow…sounds like a doc with a serious authority complex. Don’t give up! Patients with docs like that need nurses like you!

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