Borrego Sun - Since 1949

"Cya at Borrego Health"


Last updated 8/7/2019 at 1:27pm

As a cub scout, I was trained in basic first aid. We were unable to get any such basic first aid when we needed it from a (registered?) nurse on duty at Borrego Health.

On the morning of Friday July 5, my wife Wendy fainted and fell in the bathroom at our trailer park. When she didn’t return to our trailer, I went to check on her. Her face was covered with blood from a cut on her forehead and she had broken three front teeth in her fall to the floor. A neighbor helped me wash her face up. Not knowing whether or not the fire station had resident EMT’s or not, and not knowing how long they would take to arrive, I drove her directly to the nearest health care facility which I knew would have some staff on hand to look at her, Borrego Health, hoping to get her forehead wound looked at as soon as possible.

When we arrived at 9 a.m., I left Wendy in the car to go in and see what they could do for her. The sign said they would be open at 8am, but the door was locked. So I knocked on the window. Eventually a woman came to the door at which time I explained the situation. She said they would not be open until 10 when the doctor was supposed to arrive, but that they had a nurse on staff who would come out and look at her.

I went back to the car where Wendy was waiting, and eventually the nurse came to where I was standing by the car, looking very apprehensive and cautious, not concerned and helpful as one would expect. He said he could not do anything (!) until the doctor arrived. This felt to me like a CYA situation.

Here he was, the most highly trained health care professional in Borrego Springs at that moment, on paid duty, and he was not going to help. He suggested I call 911 (to find someone with less training than him?) or take her to Brawley.I asked him if he could just clean up and bandage her forehead wound so we could then go somewhere else and get the next level of care, and he said he could not do that.

Only hesitatingly was he willing (with my insistence) to look inside the car and see how she was doing (which lasted about three seconds). Zero concern or sympathy was shown. No one offered to let us come in and wait for the doctor who would arrive in an hour at 10 a.m.

We left frustrated and drove to San Marcos where there was the nearest/best Urgent care we could find quickly on our GPS (Kaiser) and they did an outstanding, professional, compassionate job with her without wasting a minute. Her dentist then came in from vacation to craft temporary teeth for her that very night. By evening we were OK.

Kaiser hit a home run. Our dentist hit a home run. Borrego Health struck out.

What would I like to see happen? A public unconditional apology to my wife, and a change in policies and procedures, so this doesn’t ever happen again to the next person who needs help. That is the main reason I am writing – for the sake of the next person in need. And don’t worry, I’m not going to sue anyone. There, you have it in writing.

What has happened to make health care professionals more afraid of liability and policies/procedures than being willing to give simple medical aid? And nurses who won’t clean and dress a wound?

David Housholder

– Desert Sands Vintage Trailer Park, Borrego Springs, California

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