Almost 140 million people use the ER every year. That’s an astonishing number. Can you imagine how many people had to go over what probably was the worst day in the year, if not their life? Can you also imagine how much work doctors in the ER department had? This is not a simple health check, but a complex life-threatening problem that results in death if not being solved fast. Or at least it should be this case.
Around 3/4 of those 140 million people were lucky because they didn’t have a serious injury. About 40 million people rushed into the ER because of injury. The others had different problems but still checked in to be treated. See some more stats about the ER in the United States here: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/emergency-department.htm.
This means that people don’t really know what an Emergency Room is and what alternatives they have instead of going to the ER.
When is the time for the ER?
The Emergency Room should be visited only in situations that are life-threatening. Never go directly to the ER just because you caught the flu, or you sprained an ankle. Understand that doctors are busy there and some patients might be fighting for their lives while you fix an injured ankle.
Do use the ER when you find yourself in a situation that can’t wait. Some of these kinds of situations are:
• Heavy breathing and chest pain
• Major cuts and heavy bleeding
• Broken bones and fractures
• Asthma attacks
• Depression and suicidal thoughts
• Poisoning of any kind
• Losing vision
• Losing the ability to speak
• Suddenly being unable to move
All these situations ask for a visit to the closest 24-hour emergency room without further ado. If you can’t go by yourself because of the situation, don’t try and be a hero but call someone to help you. If there’s no option for this either, then call 911 and try to explain as calmly as possible your location and what is wrong with you so the medics can do their jobs best and help you in the most professional way.
But what to do in situations when you’re not seriously injured, and you still need a doctor’s assistance?
Try finding an urgent care center
Urgent care centers are clinics that work 24/7 and will help you with problems of any kind and in any time of the day. They are usually walk in hospitals and no appointments are needed. They will help you with problems that are not as serious but still require assistance that can’t be postponed for the next day. Here’s a list of such problems:
• Fractures on fingers
• Flu and coughs
• Cuts that require some stitching
• Skin rashes and similar skin problems
• Bleeding that’s not stopping
• High blood pressure
Of course, if some of these things turn out to be more serious, the doctors there will send you to the ER anyway. Anyway, there’s no need for calling the emergency help number if you can use some of the options above. If you don’t care about anything else, think about the money. Going to the urgent care center will probably cost you the least. But if you think your health is in serious danger, then forget about the money.
As you can see from the specific list of injuries and health issues we mentioned before, there’s a strict rule when to visit the ER and when you should go someplace else. You can’t use hospitals as a place to spend free time and hang out with the doctors.
The emergency room is the highest state of medical fast response professionals and you should treat it like that. Don’t look for ER centers near you if you have none of the specified issues in the section about the ER.
If you can’t make up your mind if you have a problem that deserves an ER treatment, you probably don’t have one. That’s why in these situations is always better to go in the urgent care center, and if needed, then proceed to the emergency room.