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TeleHealth Ontario

by Sasha When I showed up at the hospital at 4:30 this morning, the staff were friendly. And when someone asked the nurse how he was enjoying his first night on triage, I joked that this was not what a nervous mom wants to hear.

I do have one complaint about the exchange, though: some derogatory comments made about TeleHealth. The gist was that without TeleHealth, I would not have shown up.

I can tell you that without TeleHealth, I would have been at emergency not just tonight, but several times in the past few years.

My first call was for a miscarriage. In the middle of the night (isn't it always the middle of the night?), the pain and bleeding suddenly got much worse. The last place I wanted to be right then was a hospital waiting room. Telehealth saved both me and the system the burden of that trip.

Another call. This time, a 1 year old with high fever and vomiting. But perhaps the most disturbing was the extreme lethargy. I hardly recognized my usually vivacious daughter. Telehealth told me to administer water, a tablespoon at a time, every 5 minutes. It worked. And once again, saved everyone a visit to emerg.

These are not the only times. This is just what I can remember as I peck away on my phone in a woken-at-4-am hospital-waiting-room stupor.

I want to reiterate: the staff were kind, even if they did make me feel silly for being there. And I recognize that the job they do is tough, and that they deal with a lot of unpleasantness. But I think it is important to understand that when I call TeleHealth, it's to try and avoid a hospital trip. Without it, I would have shown up anyway.

And they don't get to - or have to - talk to me when I don't.

The number for TeleHealth Ontario is 1-866-797-0000 . You can talk to a Registered Nurse 24-7. And if there's a wait you have the choice to hold the line or get a call-back.

Sasha is an Ottawa area mom, blogger, and fan of the Oxford comma. This post first appeared on her blog as Talking TeleHealth.

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