Dealing with an unexpected medical problem can be tough. You don’t want to overreact, but you don’t want to take any chances, either. Jeff Davidson, MD, Medical Director of Emergency Services at Valley Hospital, provides some guidance on when to go to the ER.
Q: Is it necessary?
An important question to ask yourself is whether emergency care is necessary. If you don’t go, could this endanger a person’s life or seriously harm the person’s health? If the answer is yes, then you should seek emergency care right away.
Q: How do you know if a problem is serious?
There are certain problems that definitely constitute “emergencies,” such as: possible heart attack or stroke, sudden or extreme difficulty breathing, bleeding that will not stop, deep cuts, sudden and severe headache or abdominal pain, seizures, major burns, suspected poisoning and possible broken bones.
Q: What are the signs of a possible heart attack?
Some of the most common symptoms of a possible heart attack for both men and women are: chest pain or discomfort, upper body discomfort and shortness of breath. You can find more information about both heart attacks and strokes on the American Heart Association website (or here on this site for heart attack signs and here for stroke signs). Call 9-1-1 immediately if you think you might be having a possible heart attack or stroke.
Q: What if you have a minor medical problem but don’t want to wait for care?
If you’re choosing the ER for convenience, keep in mind that treatment in the emergency department can cost more than the same care in your doctor’s office. You can call your doctor if you are unsure what to do.
Visit ER Reserve at Valley Hospital Medical Center to make an appointment for sudden, non-life-threatening conditions such as sore throat, earache and muscle strains or sprains.
ER Reserve should be used only if you decide your care can wait several hours. Do not wait if your symptoms or condition worsens or if you need immediate care. If you are unsure of your condition or if your condition worsens, go to the nearest emergency room or call 9-1-1. Some insurance plans may not cover an ER visit if it is deemed urgent care or they may apply a different co-pay. Check with your insurance provider for details.