When Emergency Strikes: What to Expect in the ER
Americans make more than 113 million trips to the emergency room (ER) each year. A visit to the ER can be intimidating. But, knowing what to expect can help put you at ease.
When you first arrive, you'll check in and explain why you're there. If you have a potentially life-threatening problem -- such as chest pains, severe blood loss or signs of a stroke -- you'll be treated right away. In most cases, an ER nurse will check your vital signs and ask about your symptoms and medical history. This is called triage, and it helps the staff determine the urgency of your situation.
When it is your turn to be seen, a physician
will examine you and begin tests or
treatment. If you have a serious condition,
you'll be admitted to the hospital.
You never know when you might need to go to the ER, but the visit will go more smoothly if you bring these items with you:
- All medications you are taking, including herbal supplements;
- Your doctor's name and contact information;
- A list of your allergies;
- Your medical history;
- If you have heart problems, a copy of your latest EKG;
- Your insurance cards.