Pickup or Delivery?

Late one night I was backing up the ambulance at one of our fine local hospitals. Parked near the emergency department entrance was a dark minivan with tinted windows. I wouldn’t have even noticed it — but then a man emerged from a set of doors wheeling a cot. Even in the dim light, it was unmistakable that he was removing a body.

As we unloaded our patient, he was fetching a customer.

OK, they weren’t coming out the same doors we were going in, but it was pretty darn close. If this surprised me, imagine how you’d feel if you were on our stretcher and looked over to see the undertaker picking someone up. Not very encouraging.

Considering how busy these places are, it always surprises me how shabby emergency department entrances can be. Rather than projecting a professional impression, many look more like a place where the hospital brings out its trash. It would go a long way to have them clean and well-lit — and you’re receiving so many patients, why not have someone stationed to meet the ambulance and begin the intake process?

If nothing else, let’s move the mortician access to someplace a little more discrete. I think we all have enough reminders that our last ride is on the way.

3 thoughts on “Pickup or Delivery?

  1. Note: Last night I was at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady and the emergency entrance was BEAUTIFUL. Of particular note was the huge and bright area for parking ambulances. Good job, Ellis!

  2. Albany Med’s ER entrance is somewhat difficult to find. That is a particularly bad thing in emergencies.

    1. No, the walk-in entrance is not obvious and the ambulance parking is completely inadequate. Getting to the ED from the parking garage isn’t easy, either.

      Having said that, if someone’s sick enough for it to matter, they should probably be in an ambulance.

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