Monday, May 07, 2007
How to Call 911 in Another State
At the hospital last night, I learned the answer to this question: You call 911 in your area, and they'll transfer you.
This never would have occurred to me. But other people at the hospital didn't know, either. We wound up asking a paramedic, who gave us the answer and said, "Yeah, we had to transfer a call just last week."
So I was making the process much more complicated than it had to be -- but at least now I know! Please pass this info on to anyone with far-flung friends or family.
I hadn't been at the hospital for a while because of Philly travel, and it was good to be back, especially since it was an unusually satisfying shift. I got to give two cute stuffed animals to two cute toddlers, both of whom responded by hugging the toy and beaming. What's not to love about this? I also helped a worried family in the waiting room track down the ambulance containing their relative, and provided pastoral care to a grieving widow in our Fast Track area. There isn't usually much call for my services there, but I always swing by every hour or so anyway, just in case -- and last night, it paid off.
I also got a rare compliment from the case manager. We had a patient who needed a safe place to stay for twelve hours or so, a bridge before being able to go to another safe place. (Note: this didn't involve domestic violence.) The patient had come to the hospital hoping to be admitted overnight, but wasn't sick enough for that. The patient was going to be discharged, and was very discouraged.
I said, "What about a shelter bed?"
The nurse and case manager said, "No, it's too late, they don't take people at this hour, especially on a weekend."
I said, "Why don't I just call and ask?" So I did, and lo and behold, the very pleasant person who answered the phone said that yes, they had a bed, and we could send the patient right on over.
The case manager, when I reported this news, grinned and shook my hand and said, "You can work here more often, you know." That felt really good.
An hour or so later, the charge nurse said, "Susan, there's a call for you." It was the patient, who'd been a little hesitant about going to the shelter -- never anyone's idea of a good time -- and had wound up making other arrangements, but wanted to let me know. "Will you pray with me now?"
So I prayed with the patient on the phone. It's the first time I've done that, and it felt weirdly disembodied. I'm used to paying very close attention to patients' body language and facial expressions when I pray with them, and not being able to do that felt like flying blind. But the patient thanked me very warmly, and I was moved that someone I'd spent time with had called the ED to talk to me again.
Then I called the shelter back to say that we wouldn't be needing the bed after all, and to thank the very pleasant person for being willing to offer us the bed after hours. VPP said, "If a hospital calls, or any social service agency, we'll always find room."
So I reported that to the nurse and the case manager, since it's information they needed and didn't have. Yay. I love being useful!