In life, accidents happen and the unexpected can arise at the drop of a hat. But what to do in those situations and where should you go when they come up? To find out, we spoke with Emergency Department Director John Lazarus about the differences between real emergencies and problems better handled by urgent care.
Emergent or Urgent
“Emergent problems can be subjective, but there are some good guidelines we can go by in making a determination of emergency,” explains Lazarus. “The most basic guidelines for what make a situation emergent is if your life, limb or vision is at stake. If any of these things are in danger, we would call that an emergency. Other conditions outside of life, limb, or vision also warrant immediate intervention (as described below) because of the likelihood of the condition getting worse and possible organ failure. We also know there are patient populations that are at higher risk of death — this includes children under 2 years of age, geriatric patients, and those with a weakened immune response.”
Reasons to Go to the Emergency Department
Read on for a sample of some of the reasons you should seek emergency treatment right away. If you have an emergency, never attempt to drive yourself to the hospital, as you’ll not only put your own life in danger, but also the lives of those around you. If you have an emergency, call 911 immediately and wait for the ambulance.
- Any sudden or severe pain, or uncontrolled bleeding
- Changes in vision
- Chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure
- Confusion or changes in mental function, such as unexplained drowsiness or disorientation
- Coughing or vomiting blood, or bright red blood in bowel movements
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Difficulty speaking, slurred speech, or sudden severe headache
- Fainting, sudden dizziness, or weakness on one side of your body or face
- Poisoning or exposure to dangerous chemicals
- Seizures lasting longer than five minutes or new onset seizures
- Severe injuries like broken bones and head injuries, or injuries that came from an accident or fall, like intense back or neck pain, fractures and dislocations of bones, deep cuts, or severe burns
- Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
- Severe or worsening reaction to an insect bite or sting, or to medication, especially if breathing becomes difficult
- Signs of meningitis in adults: severe headaches, neck/joint pain and stiffness, vomiting, high temperature, and sensitivity to light
- Suicidal or homicidal feelings
For everything else, seek treatment at one of our many convenient AdventHealth Centra Care locations, or see your primary care physician.
Advancements in Emergency Care
“There have been huge advancements made to emergency care in just the last few years and over the last 15 years, as well,” says Lazarus. “New technologies and newer equipment like the rapid fluid infuser, bedside ultrasound and intra-osseous infusion have enabled us to improve the timeliness of care and administration of medication to emergent patients.”
These new technologies allow the medical staff to deliver care that used to require much longer treatment times and more transportation around the emergency department, where they can now come right to your bed.
“Our emergency departments are equipped with advanced testing equipment, labs and access to a wide variety of life-saving medications. And all our nurses have been trained and certified in emergent cardiac, pediatric and trauma care to provide you with the highest level of fast-paced advancement of care for your entire well-being.”
Call 911 immediately if you are experiencing a medical emergency or symptoms of a heart attack or stroke.
When the EMS professional asks which hospital to take you to, choose whole-person care from the ER experts at AdventHealth. Find your nearest Emergency Room.