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Bars in the ER – Is It Too Much to Ask?

So, we had one of those horrific visits to the ER on Sunday night. Blood, gore, screaming … I promise to tell the whole story, but my real question is this:

Why aren’t there bars in the pediatric units of emergency rooms?

I don’t care if it’s a cash bar. That seems reasonable in today’s health care world. But make the liquor immediately available to parents of children in pain. OR cough up some of those narcotics. You could wheel the bar into the room just like you wheel in the X-ray machine and the damned computer for all of your questions and reports. Wheel in the liquor cart. Not so difficult.

If you seriously want me to hold my child down while you inflict severe pain on her, then give me something to get through it, as well. Dammit.

So, here’s the story …

Allie crushed her toe (to use the doctor’s words) with a bowling pin. (Yes, we had a bowling pin in our house. Long story.) The bleeding was instantaneous and her nail essentially popped right off. She was screaming and shaking—going into shock—so Dave had to drive us all to the ER. (Couldn’t really leave Delaney at home, so we all ended up in the ER.) The pin basically split the skin of her toe in two but didn’t break the bone, thank goodness. If her toe was California, the gash was the San Andreas Fault line.

So, she had to get three shots in her toe just to deaden it so that they could give her five stitches—three are under her toenail—and then they had to sew the toenail back on. Yes, the kid had crushed her toe and as if that weren’t enough, they stuck three needles into it, including under the nail.


At one point, I was trying to hold her down and block her line of vision to her foot when the doc asked me to turn around and “look at something.” (See how I’m bringing this back around to the alcohol part?) I looked and the man had Allie’s toenail in his hand. He then proceeded to say, “There are two lines of thought on what to do with the toenail. Leave it on or leave it off.”

During this little tutorial, he proceeded to place the nail on her toe, which was surrounded by bloody cloths, and remove it. Put it on. Take it off. I barely remember saying, “Do what you think is best,” before turning back around to face my traumatized six-year-old.

So, I hereby submit this suggestion to ER departments around the country—and I do believe it could be a significant money-maker—open up a bar in your pediatric unit. At the very least, send a bottle of something home with Mom and Dad. We deserve it!

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