My Thursday Night Experience At West Boca’s Pediatric ER Is Chilling
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — West Boca Medical Center has put a COVID protocol into place that should frighten everyone who may need help at the hospital. It is dangerous, disingenuous, and potentially deadly for those seeking emergent care.
Want to enter the ER with an emergency? Good luck. Getting into the building requires finding, and then being questioned, by security guards who have what seems to be a minimal grasp of the English language.
No one disputes the need for COVID-19 safety. But for a hospital to put somewhat non-communicative hourly security “guards” at a table blocking the entrance to the ER is outrageous. There is no situation where a lowly security guard should be assessing the medical condition of someone seeking assistance — deciding whether they are permitted to make it as far as the triage desk inside.
But that is now protocol at West Boca — a hospital that U.S. News and World Report gives just two stars based on several factors, and we wrote about in 2012 as providing horrendous pediatric care. Our article, read by nearly 100,000 people almost a decade ago, initiated internal change at the troubled Tenet property. Clearly not enough.
My elementary school aged son Thursday night managed to break his arm with such skill, it took on a shape that arms are not meant to take. Assuming that West Boca couldn’t possibly still be the second rate stepchild to Delray Medical Center that many perceive it to be, we rushed to the ER. After all, West Boca heavily promotes its pediatric emergency practice. I assumed the incompetence was long gone.
But at the front door to the ER, my son and I — both masked — were met by an empty plastic table at 6:45 p.m. Once we triggered the automatic door, two security guards engaged in a conversation in a language I do not speak, body blocked us from entering. We were pushed back to the plastic table that still sat empty.
With my son’s arm bent in multiple places not meant to bend, and clearly in pain, these security guards delayed access to care as they stumbled through a series of questions about COVID exposure, travel, coughing, sneezing, and more. They were seemingly unable to read, or at the very least articulate, the words on the survey. There was no professional medical staffer outside. Every stumbling, bumbling second delaying care. Only upon completion of the survey did a guard walk us to the desk where — apparently pulling on his medical degree — declared to the triage clerk that my child had dislocated his hand. (West Boca Medical Center doesn’t need radiology anymore. They have an all-knowing inarticulate security guard who is a self-proclaimed diagnostician). Shockingly, the guard was wrong. Imaging later showed two fractures.
The security guard situation is so dangerous that Medical Malpractice lawyers will read this and dance a little jig. For a major hospital chain — Tenet health care (NYSE: THC) — to initiate a COVID protocol where an English-challenged security guard is assessing medical conditions, then announcing them, is stunning. It should frighten every member of this community, and should yet again encourage parents to rush to other hospitals for emergent pediatric care.
Unsurprisingly, West Boca is in the midst of a lawsuit that we reported several weeks ago. A woman was denied entrance to the ER, by a security guard. She later fell on hospital property and broke her leg.
Later Thursday evening, after demanding an explanation from the “Charge Nurse,” I was told we arrived during a shift change which is why the apparent incompetence was at an all time high. The “Charge Nurse” actually told me that if I know anyone in management at the hospital, I should reach out. “Sometimes it helps,” she said.
Perhaps reaching out to those who visit our pages 1.8 Million times each month will make a difference. COVID protocols are fine. Gross incompetence that delays emergency care is not. At West Boca Medical Center, that gross incompetence starts at the front door.
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