How to Use the Emergency Room Correctly

1.

Identify whether the situation is truly an emergency by deciding if the person is sick or injured enough that you fear for their life, a body part or if you have been unable to control their pain. If any of these conditions are true then call an ambulance, immediately. The personal on the ambulance have the training to begin treating the condition as well as communicate with the hospital to prepare them for the arrival of the sick or injured party. When in doubt call the ambulance.

2.

If as you evaluate the situation you feel that the injured or sick party can wait for treatment, you have two options. First, call your physician and speak to the nurse or doctor on call for directions. Then follow the directions. Second, if you have no doctor call the local Acute Care Clinic or go there. They frequently have a nurse on call to help you decide what actions to take. Follow their directions. Remember to tell whomever you speak with to explain the situation including medical history of the person affected and actions you have taken.

3.

If you go to the Emergency Room, an Acute Care Clinic, or a physician's office remember to take the following with you: name; address; emergency phone numbers; insurance information and cards; list of all allergies including foods; list of all medications being taken including over the counter, dosages, when last taken; names of all doctors you are seen by; any medication you have recently taken or treatments you have provided for this situation; and take someone with you to act as your advocate. During situations of physical and or emotional stress we all need someone to be with us to help us hear what is being said, remember instructions, and to insure our wishes are met.

Tips and Warnings

  • If it is an Emergency or you think it is, call an Ambulance
  • Take a First Aid course to better prepare yourself
  • Have all the necessary information with you
  • Take an advocate with you
  • When in doubt call an Ambulance!
  • The inappropriate use of Emergency Rooms has lead to a crisis in providing quality, rapid, cost effective care in the US. Defining an emergency when you or a loved one is affected can be difficult. The keys are could the person die, lose a limb, or is in uncontrollable severe pain; then it's an emergency!