I have a real emergency and the ER is crowded!

 The Emergency Room. Visiting the ER can be a wonderful experience if you enjoy sitting for hours suffering while you wait for a room to open up so that the doctor can see you. Hour after hour, some ER visits can turn into a day visit instead of a hour or two depending on the time of day and day of the week it is.

I had to take my daughter to the ER recently thinking she hit her head and might have a concussion. My daughter was throwing up, a good sign that there is a head injury. We got to the ER on a Tuesday night at 7:00 pm. Luckily it was a quite night in the ER and we were able to get in and out in two and a half hours.

Other times I have been in the ER and seen people wait for multiple hours before getting into a room. The problem that I see all the time is that the ER turns into an outpatient clinic for people without insurance or state Medicaid. Another problem is that the convenient cares close in the evening. Then everyone that has been at work all day suffering through their illnesses decides to go to the ER on the way home.  The last problem that happens is on Sunday night. With work looming at dawn, people want to extend their weekend by going to the ER and getting a doctors excuse to call in sick the next day turning a two day weekend into a three day holiday.

So what do those people with real problems do when they show up to a busy ER?

The first thing that you must do if you think you are experiencing a real emergency is to call 911. Take the ambulance that is what will get you into the ER right away, but it is expensive as well. But I have seen people that needed to take the ambulance decided to drive themselves in and I see lots of people come in on an ambulance that did not need it.

If you think you can avoid the ambulance and have someone else drive you in, then tell the admissions clerk what is wrong. DO NOT just check in thinking that they will get to you when they get to you. I have seen several people go to the ER for chest pain, sit and wait because they are trained by society to wait their turn only to find out that they were in need of immediate medical attention. People that are in the ER for coughs or sniffles can wait.

The second most important thing to do is DO NOT get excited, angry, or hysterical. This will only cause problems for you and the healthcare providers. Try to stay calm, the healthcare providers are trained and know what they are doing. They will take care of you as best as they can then send you on your way when you are better.

For anyone that thinks they need to go to the ER, remember that it is an EMERGENCY Room. If your illness or alignment can wait for the convenient or immediate care clinic to open in the morning, do so. It is so much cheaper for you and your insurance company. If you have suffered through the pain for a day or more, it can probably wait for another few hours. If you do decide to go to the ER, remember that the healthcare providers treat people according to severity, not first come first serve. You might think your world has come to an end because of your pain, but in reality it is not life threatening. You might get passed over because someone with a more severe problem came in or an ambulance just arrived. Be patient and the healthcare providers will get to you eventually. Besides, hospitals are business too and they have to make money as well and all those coughs and sniffles pay the bills.

My last point is to be honest. Do not come to the ER to get medications for entertainment. Healthcare providers can figure out if something is really wrong or not.

I am not a healthcare provider but I do work in an ER.

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