Emergency Medicine

Emergency Medicine Overview:
At the medical center we understand that healthcare emergencies don’t just happen between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm. Which is why we provide medical coverage 24 hours a day/ 7 days per week/ 365 days per year. Our physicians and physician assistants are in-house any time day or night.

When seconds count, be assured that our emergency room staff are considered to be some of the finest in the area with specialized training in trauma and pediatrics. We offer state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities such as CT-scan, MRI, and Ultrasound in addition to having “stat” laboratory services. Although emergency medicine is considered a high pressure, constantly changing environment, our staff is committed to provide the highest quality of emergency care possible while still delivering that special touch.

What to Expect During Your Visit:
The emergency department treats patients according to the urgency of their condition, so those with more serious conditions are treated first. Hospital staff refers to this process as “triage”.

During the triage process, a nurse or paramedic will assess each patient’s symptoms to determine the urgency of the condition and provide first aid as needed. After first aid is provided, a patient’s condition may be less urgent, which could result in that patient being reclassified in a less serious category. If a patient’s condition worsens while waiting, that patient may be placed in a more serious category.

Triage Defined:
Triage is an ongoing screening process that classifies patients into four categories of urgency based on their symptoms: critical, acute, urgent and non-urgent. These categories are based on how quickly patients need to be seen by an emergency physician and determine which patients are placed in treatment rooms first.

Critical patients require immediate attention. These patients have extremely serious injuries or illnesses that may be life-threatening if they are not treated immediately. The medical staff will see critical patients immediately. Examples of critical conditions include cardiac arrest, heart attack and respiratory distress.

Acute patients require very urgent treatment. The condition of a patient with these types of serious illnesses or injuries may deteriorate, or the patient may suffer long-term problems if not treated as quickly as possible. The medical staff will see acute patients after all critical patients. Examples of acute conditions include altered mental status, severe fractures and shortness of breath.

Urgent patients have medical conditions that are not immediately life-threatening, and the condition will not deteriorate if the patient must wait for treatment. Urgent patients are treated after all critical and acute patients. Examples of urgent conditions include abdominal pain, cuts needing stitches and most ankle and arm fractures.

Non-urgent patients could reasonably wait for treatment at a minor medical facility or a physician’s office. Non-urgent patients are treated after all critical, acute and urgent patients. During busy times, non-urgent patients may stay in the emergency room between three to five hours. Examples of non-urgent conditions include second opinions, generalized aches and pains, fever that responds to over-the-counter medicine, dental pain or an earache, cough or sore throat.

What You Can Do:
It’s the ED team’s priority to take care of your illness or injury first and get you stabilized. But there are some things you can do to help the ED staff take care of you as quickly as possible.

Please be patient and respectful to others with more urgent conditions and the emergency department staff.

Be aware of your insurance plan and coverage. This can be helpful to family members and loved ones as they work to get you registered while you’re being treated. If follow-up treatment with a specialist is required, the emergency physician will provide the on-call physician’s name and phone number. It is each patient’s responsibility to determine if the specialist is covered by his or her insurance plan and to make other arrangements if necessary.

Bring a list of your medical history, current medications and allergies. You should also bring a copy of any living wills or health care proxies, if possible. Our staff can provide information about these documents.

If there are any concerns regarding care, please ask to speak with the charge nurse or house supervisor on duty.

Quality emergency medical treatment with a touch of compassion.