SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The emergency department at Queen’s Hospital had a very rare event occur this Friday afternoon. 74-year-old Wilma Gooding, checked into the emergency room around 4:12 p.m. with a chief complaint of “needing the water pills and sugar pills.” She had attempted to be seen at her primary care doctor’s office, but was told to “just go to the ER and let them handle it” by clinic staff members.
“I had never heard of this happening before,” said perplexed emergency medicine physician Dr. Emily Frickens. “Usually most of our patients are very sick or acutely in pain. I don’t think I have ever heard of any clinic just sending us a non-urgent patient on a Friday afternoon.”
“What made the encounter even more baffling is that there was no phone call to update us about the impending transfer,” Frickens remarked. “We ALWAYS get a phone call from the transferring provider to let us know what to expect and to offer advice on how to proceed next. This was just so bizarre for her to show up unannounced.”
Our news staff caught up with Gooding’s physician, Dr. Robert Howling on the golf course later that day. “Thank goodness I was able to send Mrs. Gooding to a facility where somebody could help her. If not, I couldn’t have made that killer birdie on the 7th hole!”
When asked if Howling thought sending Gooding to the emergency department was appropriate, Howling replied, “Well, of course it was. I had to emergently get to the course in order to squeeze 18 in before it got dark. Emergency is a very relative term, which works for me.”