Most people who visit the emergency room do not have true emergencies, but rather “urgencies”: Injuries or illnesses that are not life-threatening, but need quick attention. Those include ankle sprains, cuts, high fevers and ear infections.
In the ER, patients with true emergencies such as stroke, heart attack or trauma take first priority. “Usually, the people in the waiting room will never see these patients,” says Brendon Gelford, MD, emergency medicine physician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “That is because they arrive via ambulance and are immediately placed in a room. Our goal is to stabilize them and move them to the right area, such as the cardiac catheterization lab or intensive care unit (ICU).”
“When you enter the ER with a nonemergent illness or injury,” Gelford continues, “be patient. Our goal is to give very good care in a timely manner. And let the nurses know if there is a change in your condition.”
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