The Emergency Room
- Should be used for medical and surgical emergencies that are critical or life threatening, or cannot wait until routine medical office hours.
- Trauma Center- A highly specialized emergency room for treatment of severe accidents
- Urgent Care Center – Frequently private, often free standing “ER” and can handle many non-threatening illnesses.
- Key Staff of Emergency Room: physicians, nurses, physicians assistants.
- Emergency medicine is now a popular specialty with its own residents who may treat you in the ER
- Triage System – Be prepared for a wait…..life threatening situations and critically ill patients will receive care first (even if you have been waiting for a long time before they arrived!)
- Many hospital admission are done through the ER
- The diagnostic capabilities of emergency rooms has gradually increased so that now many patients who in the past would have been admitted for evaluation are discharged home.
WHEN SHOULD I GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM?
The emergency room should be used for medical and surgical emergencies that are critical or life threatening. Increasingly, however, people are misusing emergency rooms as ad hoc clinics for round-the-clock routine medical care, diverting staff from bona fide emergencies and contributing to emergency room congestion. These people require medical attention, but could safely wait until the next day to consult their private physician or clinic. ER’s cannot refuse treatment, so individuals need to determine if an ailment is actually serious enough to warrant a trip to the ER.
Some Reasons To Go To An Emergency Room
|On advice of a physician||Stroke|
|Severe chest pain||Severe Dehydration|
|Severe shortness of breath||Allergic Reaction|
|Trauma & serious bleeding||Poisoning|
|Fainting & loss of consciousness||Choking|
|High fever (over 101°)|
Some Reasons Not To Go To An Emergency Room
|Don’t feel well at night & can’t sleep||Bad cold|
|Chronic back pain||Need checkup|
|Ran out of pills||Chronic back pain|
|Regular doctor is out of town||Minor diarrhea|
In short, any illness or injury that cannot safely be handled at home or in a physician’s office requires an emergency room visit.
WHICH EMERGENCY ROOM SHOULD I GO TO?
This question applies to those lucky enough to live close to different types of hospitals. Hospitals that are designated as trauma centers have trained personnel to handle any type of serious accident, and may be filled with accident victims at any time. If you are in a serious car accident and suffer multiple broken bones, this is a great place to be.
If you have a less critical situation, such as a cut on the knee that requires stitches, you may be better off at a less busy ER where the care will be timely and less rushed.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE AT THE EMEGENCY ROOM?
Critically ill patients are ushered immediately to the appropriate area for treatment. In emergency situations, care is rendered first; forms can be filled out later. Otherwise, you will go to the registration desk where you will be asked for “vital statistics” (see Chapter 3) including insurance information and any medications you are taking.
Next you will see the triage nurse. Triage is a system of priorities designed to maximize the number of survivors. The triage nurse assesses the severity of your illness, and ensuring that the sickest patients are treated first. For example, someone who is bleeding profusely will be seen before someone with a broken toe, regardless of who arrived first. “First come, first served” would not be an ethical policy for the ER.
SHOULD I DRIVE TO THE ER OR TAKE AN AMBULANCE?
This depends on how sick you are, if you have time to speak to your doctor before leaving, ask for guidance. Ambulances are staffed by trained drivers, and may or may not have EMT’s or other personnel trained in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) who can provide treatment in a variety of life-threatening situations. However you get there, you should have someone accompany you who can drive you, help you home, or provide critical information if you become incapacitated.Leave a reply →