mon 23 jun 2008 02:29:30 witte de withstraat
at about 23.00 tonight i met pani at the emergency room of sint lucas-andreas hospital. she was there because of the bad swelling in her left eye which had been getting worse during the evening. in fact she looked like somebody had punched her in the face. when we sat down in the wachtkamer, spain was just winning the football game with italy in overtime kicks.
at 00.10 a nurse called her inside. she was gone for an hour. i was surprised; i thought they must be doing something really complicated in there to fix her eye.
what really happened was:
a nurse took her to a little exam room, talked to her briefly, then left her waiting. the doctor who was supposed to see her didn't show up. he was real busy. after about half an hour, pani stepped out of the little room to remind the staff she was still there. finally they sent a doctor to see her. the doctor said he was a surgeon, and didn't *know* what to do about her eye. he gave her a prescription for antihistamines and sent her home.
pani came out laughing at the absurdity of it all. i guess i wasn't quite as amused. anyway her eye was slowly getting better.
so, to recap: my friend went to the "speed-demanding help", and waited two hours to find out they didn't know how to help her.
alternate ways they might have handled it:
 tell her "your case isn't spoedeisend enough. come back when you're bleeding."
 tell her "unfortunately our doctor doesn't know how to deal with a swollen eye. go somewhere else, you're wasting your time here."
as we were walking back i asked pani "what will you do if this swelling keeps coming back, or gets worse?"
she said "then i'll go see a doctor in poland."