Recently I had the unfortunate opportunity to spend some time in the emergency room waiting area. I won't go into any more detail as to why I was there, other than I was accompanying a loved one receiving care. They are now well, and that particular situation is not what this article is about.

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Rather, I want to describe a situation I saw unfold over the several hours I was there and let one patient in particular know- I am so terribly sorry for her experience.

To the lady crying, moaning, and eventually screaming in pain in the waiting area of the ER- I am sorry there was nothing I, or any of the other patients gathered around you, could do to get you seen by a provider sooner.

I am sorry that as you cried out in pain there wasn't a single medical professional available to assess you and tend to your needs.

I am sorry that as you were screaming that the pain was so bad you needed to lay down, no one was able to lift you from your chair to a more comfortable position, as we were told only medical personnel could move you.

I am sorry that when the medical staff finally arrived, they told you there were no available stretchers and it was unsafe to move you to a more comfortable bench or couch, for fear you might fall, then left you to continue to cry out in agony.

I am sorry that as you began to fall out of your wheelchair, again no medical staff was available to help you up, and again we were told only trained personnel could assist you.

I am sorry that in this world of understaffed and overworked employees you felt that no one cared about you or what you were going through. I could see in the eyes of receptionists and security the helplessness they felt.

I am sorry that lawyers and insurance companies have made it so good Samaritans have to sit by and do nothing.

Most of all I am sorry that our healthcare system seems so irrevocably broken that I'm sure you waited until the pain was so unbearable you had no choice but to go to the ER.

I hope you finally got the help you needed and you are doing well.

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