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Emergencies can stop your world. Injuries from accidents, heart attacks and strokes, overwhelming pain or inability to breathe, are just a few of the crisis situations that can descend out of nowhere.
An emergency can bring with it terror, fear and confusion. Expert training and skill is needed and quickly.
Time to head to the ER, otherwise known as the Emergency Room or Emergency Department of the nearest hospital.
This is the place that specializes in taking care of people who need serious help fast. No appointment is necessary.
The ER needs to be ready at times for any and all types of life-threatening illness and injury. It is also the place for health care for many people who don't have their own family doctor.
It's the place to go when there's nowhere else to go.
People come in droves. Some are able to walk in, or drive themselves there.
Sometimes they are brought in by friends or family. They may be picked up by ambulance after a 911 call, or after an accident has been reported.
Once through the doors of the ER, you'll go to the front desk if you are well enough for registration. If you aren't, you will go to triage.
There a nurse will evaluate your condition, determining the level of urgency. The most pressing cases are seen first. People who are more stable condition may spend some time in the waiting room.
The triage nurse will check your vitals, taking your temperature and monitoring your blood pressure, pulse and breathing rate. She'll ask for a quick medical history.
During the next stage, you'll need to give your insurance information. This can be done later for very urgent cases.
Then it's off to the examination room where another nurse will look you over thoroughly. The ER doctor will come in to get more information and more medical history.
If possible a diagnosis will be reached. If not, some diagnostic tests will be taken.
Once an assessment has been made, you may be moved to one of a number areas in the hospital for care.
If the illness or injury is not severe, sometimes treatment is immediate, and the patient may be free and able to go.