"All of our beds were full, plus 30 people in the waiting room. Of the >70 ED beds, approximately 40 patients were boarding, waiting for beds upstairs as inpatients. Several of the patients were waiting in the ED for 24 hours, hoping to eventually go upstairs to the inpatient service so they could get the care that they needed. During the course of that day, we had two to three patients who had been waiting ~18-24 hours decompensate whilst in the ED waiting to go upstairs requiring emergent intervention by our ED team; however, they had been there for so long that the original ED doctor who took care of them had gone home the previous day, which made figuring out what was going on with their case a challenge.
His wife and I tried to convince him to stay but he declined, upset about the wait time, stating "I hope I make it."
Another three to five patients just plain got sick of waiting for a bed in the hospital and walked out of the ED completely; abandoning the pursuit of the care that the patients themselves and the ED team knew that they needed. One of them stated, "I'm not waiting anymore Doc, nothing's happening, I'm not going anywhere." I was worried that another who decided to leave was having a heart attack but he stated that he "didn't want to be here [in the ED waiting] all night." His wife and I tried to convince him to stay but he declined, upset about the wait time, stating "I hope I make it."ED patients should never have to make those kinds of decisions because of inpatient-boarding wait times."