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Tue Oct 20, 2020, 01:56 PM

In the past 48 hours I've spent about 14 hours in a hospital emergency room

First, with a badly infected cat bite. But now I'm worried I could have been exposed to COVID-19 in the ER waiting area.

Poor old 17-year-old cat got a claw tangled in my shirt on Friday when I was carrying her. As I attempted to unhook it, she suddenly bit me, hard, in the left arm. She has never been a biter, so maybe it's age-related and I inadvertently hurt an achy area.

By Sunday afternoon, the puncture was red and puffy despite applications of Bacitracin. The urgent cares were closed, so my husband drove me to the ER. After a bit of a wait, they ran tests, found it hadn't gotten to the blood stream, and hooked me to an IV with an antibiotic. Unfortunately I had forgotten that it was one I'm allergic to. They also gave me a different antibiotic pill to swallow and sent me home after cleaning and re-bandaging the wound. Discharged after about 4 hours.

Next day I started itching all over. My primary care doctor's office said I should go back to the ER, so I did. And waited and waited and waited. Meanwhile my Benadryl wore off and I starting itching madly all over, with red hives. The ER was busy, because there were delays in getting patients admitted to beds upstairs. I think it was about 8 hours before they could see me. Finally hooked up with an IV of Benadryl. The doctors were trying to figure out which antibiotic they could safely give me, because I'm allergic or sensitive to so many of them. They finally chose one, gave me a dose and sent me home after calling prescriptions in to the pharmacy. Total time before being discharged - almost 10 hours. Got to sleep after 3 a.m.

One thing that bothered me was that the waiting area seemed lax about COVID-19 precautions, and my husband complained to the ER staff about it. I saw 2 people in the waiting area either without a mask or a mask slipped down below the nose. Both seemed to have mental health issues. One was wandering around the room touching everything, refusing to sit down, demanding to go to the bathroom but not going there when it was pointed out to him, and periodically scratching his crotch.

The other was a kid about 16 who wore a mask at times when his attendants reminded him. But after a while he took it off and remained without a mask. Nobody at the front desk tried to do anything and the security guard just sat there until the kid stood up and got into an aggressive stance with his fist up to punch one of his attendants. I scurried out of the way to sit next to the security guard's desk. At least this time he went to intervene. The kid got calmed down and was soon taken off in to the actual ER area.

But that's not all. There was at least one, maybe two people in the waiting area who had tested positive with COVID. They should probably have been moved to a separate seating area away from the rest of us, but nothing was done. At least those people wore masks.

Nobody was sanitizing the arms of the waiting room chairs or the vending machine. There was hand sanitizer available at the front desk, though.

When I went for a blood test at a different hospital a few months ago, I couldn't even get past the door without an immediate COVID screening - temp, oxygen level, short questionnaire about travel and possible symptoms. OK, this was at a separate facility that housed blood testing and oncology with a lot of frail cancer patients.

But at the ER there was nobody at the front desk half the time, so people coming in didn't know what to do. When the attendant came back, he'd send you to the registrar for insurance info. Then you waited to see the triage nurse, who took your temp and oxygen and sent you back to wait. And to sit right there among people not wearing masks, people with COVID, and many of them changing seats at various times.

While I was in the ER patient area, two doctors apologized to me about the unmasked people and said something would be done about it. Someone really needs to speak to the front desk attendants and the security guards about doing their jobs.

Today the hives are gone, the puncture looks much better. Need to get the new prescriptions picked up when they are ready.


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Reply In the past 48 hours I've spent about 14 hours in a hospital emergency room (Original post)
Wicked Blue Oct 2020 OP
LakeArenal Oct 2020 #1
Wicked Blue Oct 2020 #5
RKP5637 Oct 2020 #2
MFM008 Oct 2020 #3
livetohike Oct 2020 #4
LisaL Oct 2020 #6
stopdiggin Oct 2020 #7
mopinko Oct 2020 #8
Jirel Oct 2020 #9
Niagara Oct 2020 #13
Wicked Blue Oct 2020 #14
Jirel Oct 2020 #15
Bayard Oct 2020 #10
Fla Dem Oct 2020 #11
Niagara Oct 2020 #12

Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Tue Oct 20, 2020, 01:59 PM

1. Send this post to the local paper, cc the hospital administration.

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Response to LakeArenal (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 20, 2020, 02:16 PM

5. I would, but all our local papers are gone

The Washington Post is our only "local" paper.

I WILL send the hospital a list of recommendations about ways to improve safety in the ER waiting area. They need a segregated COVID positive area, and attendants and security guards who enforce mask rules.

They also need several portable air cleaners in the waiting room, and they need to improve air circulation in their HVAC system. I used to write about sick building syndrome and similar issues years ago for industry publications. The air in the room needs to be replaced much faster to prevent becoming stale and filled with germs.There are automatic doors with people coming and going a lot, but that's not enough in my opinion. All they need to do is crank up the HVAC fans a bit for more air circulation.

Someone should also be going around with a UV light or a spray bottle of disinfectant periodically to clean surfaces that people have touched.

And I think people entering should immediately have a COVID-19 screening before sitting down.

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Tue Oct 20, 2020, 02:03 PM

2. Phew, what a series of events! n/t

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Tue Oct 20, 2020, 02:05 PM

3. As long as YOU

Were cautious you should be ok.
Ive been in hospital 5 times since June.
3 ER visits
2 seperate 8 day hospitalizations.
Tested for covid 4 times all clear.
Just Monitor yourself.
I bet youll be fine.

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Tue Oct 20, 2020, 02:05 PM

4. Glad you are doing better! You could call your county

health dept. and report this. We donít have one in the county I live in, but I guess calling the state health dept. would be an option.

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Tue Oct 20, 2020, 02:23 PM

6. That's how one of my relatives got it.

Went in for a broken leg. Ended up with covid. Thankfully he is young so it didn't hit him too bad.

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Tue Oct 20, 2020, 02:28 PM

7. I think you're just seeing

that the people are getting worn down. No reflection on them -- just what happens after you deal with something day after day, for weeks and months on end. And, if they were as busy as you suggest, there's probably a certain amount of prioritization going on. I don't know whose job it would be to enforce mask policy and sanitize surfaces -- but I can't imagine they can spare nurses (or even orderlies) at the moment -- and that would be an issue that needs to be taken up at the staffing or facilities level. But, overall -- I don't think you're seeing negligence so much as people just being plain overworked.

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Tue Oct 20, 2020, 02:31 PM

8. i was sent the hospital outpatient lab for blood work a few weeks ago.

there was 1 dude w his nose sticking out of his mask. i grabbed the security guard, and he went over and told me- well he's wearing it, i cant do anything.
me- please go tell him to use it correctly. dont make me do it, cuz i will.

i ended up not waiting anyway. half hour wait, i am diabetic, and had been up for almost 2 hrs. asked if they could expedite, and they said no. "some of these other ppl may be diabetic also" me- well expedite them too.

argh. bugged out, hit the lunchroom, grabbed a sub and a frappachino, ate it in the parking lot and booked. it wasnt safe for me to drive like that.

sometimes....

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Tue Oct 20, 2020, 03:37 PM

9. From someone who works with sharp and stabby wild animals regularly...

You an avoid that kind of nasty infection by NOT using bacitracin! When you apply a topical, you seal the holes but you do nothing about the infection inside, causing a second problem - the infection in the wound multiplies with nowhere to go either now, and you get even more swelling and no way to reach that infection!

There are several different products you can use to actually deep-flush a wound like that - we use Xenodyne. It hurts like mad, but you don't get an infection. Since you aren't trained human or veterinary medical personnel, it's not something that you'd likely do correctly yourself the first time or two, so the smartest thing to do is wash very well then hit your local ER or urgent care, and have someone there do it right away before the bite has a chance to close up and the bacteria from the bite has a chance to go nuts in that tightly enclosed space. Bites in general (including human!) carry a ton of nasty bacteria down deep. Any deep puncture like that needs special care, or you wind up on IV antibiotics or other nasties.

I'm sorry you had a really nasty experience, and that people in ER were irresponsible. I hope you get better quickly!

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Response to Jirel (Reply #9)

Tue Oct 20, 2020, 05:20 PM

13. Interesting read.

Especially since infections from bites are common.



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Response to Jirel (Reply #9)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 08:27 AM

14. Thank you for this valuable info!

I didn't realize the Bacitracin could cause problems.

I flushed the wound with hydrogen peroxide before applying Bacitracin and hoped that would be enough.

Is Xenodyne anything like Betadine?

We have 3 dogs and 1 cat (used to have 2 cats) but bites are extremely rare.

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Response to Wicked Blue (Reply #14)

Wed Oct 21, 2020, 11:42 AM

15. A few refinements...

Betadine is povidone iodine 10%. Xenodyne is a veterinary preparation that is polyhydroxine iodine 0.5%. So related, but not the same. Xenodyne has a bit more oomph, but is difficult to get now. Povidone iodine is just fine, and is mostly what gets used these days by vets and ERs. Strength is important, though - you have to make sure you are using the right concentration, and enough of it.

Hydrogen peroxide isnít so good. How did you flush? We basically use a long, curved-tip syringe that we jam in the wound (ow), and flush with strong pressure 3 times. The first time isnít bad. The second time hurts a lot, and you want to punch something. The 3rd, some people canít do on themselves, because hell, that hurts ridiculously. (Which is why, in the ER, they have lidocaine in the mix.)

For your reading pleasure, hereís an article on the requirements for effective flushing of cat bites with iodine.
https://www.medscape.com/answers/768875-60785/how-should-animal-bite-wounds-be-irrigated

With the quantity we use in flushing, you basically leak the solution for the next 12 hours or so from the puncture site. Thatís a lot more than most people would do. But the up side is you deal with that inconvenience and a bit of burning/bruising for a few days, but no infections, and it heals up pretty quick. None of us ever use topical antibiotics for a puncture - we WANT that drainage! The antibiotic cream doesnít do anything for the deeper wound, either. Same thing when treating an abscess on a cat from a cat fight. I always keep the area draining.

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Tue Oct 20, 2020, 04:11 PM

10. I had a bad cat bite one time

I was still in Calif, and my vet had come to check out something with the cat, I think for an infected tooth. Klaus turned around and nailed me while I was holding him for the exam. Vet freaked out because it was bleeding so badly, and disinfected it like crazy, and bandaged. I still ended up in the ER a few days later on IV antibiotics.

Hospitals are not the most sanitary places. I was in for an emergency appendectomy a few years ago, and ended up with a bad staph infection. Now, anytime I need some procedure (like carpal tunnel surgery), I have to have a course of antibiotics first because staph is always waiting for a chance to pop back up once you've had it.

You have my sympathies.

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Tue Oct 20, 2020, 04:27 PM

11. Cat bites are tough. Got a minor nip on my hand and it blew up like a ballon.

I went to the doc's and they gave me a shot to prevent infection. After about a week the hand was pretty much back to normal.

Glad you went to the ER even though the situation was less than desirable. Hive are the devil's curse. When I had them I wanted to cut my arms and legs off. Reaction to a series of penicillin shots after dental surgery. So I totally empathize with you.

The management of the ER was totally ridiculous. Definitely should have kept the Covid positive people in an isolated area. What a dreadful experience all the way around.

Hope all turns out well for you going forward.

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Tue Oct 20, 2020, 05:04 PM

12. I'm glad to hear that your on the mend.

I would think the hospital of all places would be more engaged with following safety procedures. People getting too lax is why we're having problems containing it.



I'm sorry to hear about your horrible experience where your safety should have mattered.


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