Emergency Department / Emergency Room

Emergency Department / Emergency Room

  1. What is an Emergency Department?
  2. What happens in an Emergency Room?
  3. When should I go to the Emergency Room
  4. Is this free? How much does a visit to the Emergency Room cost?
  5. Can the ER take the place of my regular doctor?

The Emergency Department (also called the ER) is the front line of the hospital responsible for providing immediate medical and surgical evaluation. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Emergency Rooms are ready to assess and stabilize anyone who walks in the door. Patients may arrive by an emergency medical squad, public transportation, or private automobile via family, friends, or neighbors. Emergency rooms are staffed by Physicians, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners, a variety of technicians (lab, ultrasound), and medical assistants.

This health care setting provides for immediate evaluation of acute conditions, access to life saving medicines, procedures, and quick surgical attention when necessary. ER’s allow for quick assessment of acute medical problems or abrupt worsening of a longstanding disease. When necessary, ER’s can rule out life-threatening conditions, quick stabilization, or short-term medical management allowing you to schedule quick follow up with your regular doctor.

In the Emergency Department, medical concerns are “Triaged” which describes swift, effective assessment and prioritization of your medical care. Emergency Departments see a complete range of patient conditions, from minor scrapes or infections to life-threatening traumas, coma, and death. Often, the reality of limited time and medical personnel necessitates that a diverse range of health concerns be prioritized according to their acuity. Depending on available staff, a life threatening emergency may take precedence over a minor wound or infection- so please remember to be patient with your nurses and doctors in the emergency setting. Medical personnel will make every effort to attend to everyone’s needs appropriately and effectively.

Emergency Rooms accept all who may visit, and cannot turn anyone away for lack of ability to pay a medical bill. However, such a visit is not without expense and can sometimes result in unanticipated costs. Many medical conditions, including chronic diseases, can best be evaluated by your primary physician who knows your medical history. Other health needs may be appropriately managed after-hours at an Urgent Care, avoiding a visit to a hospital. It is important to consider which setting of medical attention, whether a Hospital emergency department, Urgent Care facility, or Doctor’s office is best suited for your needs.

When you are sick or injured, understanding the available options ahead of time can assist you in making helpful decisions when you go to seek medical care.

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