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Archive for Sunday, June 27, 2004

Bringing a book will help deal with long waits in ER

June 27, 2004

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Unexpected illnesses and injuries are a part of life, and most of us know what it feels like to have to rush off to the emergency room when bad things happen. To make your next ER visit as quick, efficient and problem-free as you can, it's important to know how to arrive, what to bring with you and what to expect from the intake process.

Erica Kreismann graduated from Amherst College in 1996 and now works as an emergency room doctor in Belleview Hospital, Manhattan's largest public emergency room. Here she explains what everyone should know and expect when they go to the emergency room:

  • Have your information ready.

When you come to the emergency room you should have your ID, as well as any insurance information, a list of your medications and contact information for your physician. It's also a good idea to bring a book, as you'll likely be waiting for a while.

  • Contact your physician.

The first person that you can expect to speak to is a triage nurse, and he or she will ask you about your current situation as well as your medical history. If you think you would have difficulty answering questions about past medical procedures and health concerns, it's a good idea to contact your physician before you come into the emergency room, as long as there is time. Obviously, in life-threatening situations, skip this step and just get to the ER.

  • Ambulances are for life threatening emergencies.

The ER's ambulance entrance should really only be used for life-threatening emergencies. If you're worried that your life is in danger, do not hesitate to call 911 and have an ambulance take you to the ER.

  • Walk in if you can.

But if your illness or injury is not life- threatening, you should have someone drive you to the hospital and should enter through the walk-in entrance. When you take an ambulance that you don't really need, it means that someone whose life is in danger may be left waiting.

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