What Happens in the ER?
The Emergency Department (ED) is a specialized area of St. Mary's designed to care for patients with emergency health problems. We understand that visiting the ED is often a frightening experience, but we hope we can make your visit more enjoyable by explaining what you can expect during your stay.
When you enter the Emergency Department, our emergency medical staff will greet you and ask several questions, including your name and reason for your visit. This information will help us determine whether you have an emergency medical condition.
Your treatment begins with triage, which is a brief assessment to determine the nature and severity of your health condition. Triage can take place in a designated triage room near the Emergency Department's lobby, or it may occur in an actual treatment room.
One of our registered nurses will ask you the reason for your visit, inquire about your medical history and perform a brief assessment. The assessment ensures that our physicians see the most critical patients first. This is why someone who arrives after you may be taken ahead of you.
Our staff may initiate limited diagnostic tests in order to move you through the process more quickly. Patients whose conditions require the use of a special room or piece of equipment may be seen out of order based upon the availability of items to meet their special needs.
During the registration process, we will obtain the information necessary to begin your chart. After registration, you will be taken directly to an exam room if one is available; otherwise, you may be asked to remain in the reception area until a room is open.
Once in the treatment area, the testing process begins. If necessary, your nurse may start an IV, obtain blood or urine samples or send you for an X-ray. While it is our goal to have all patients treated in a timely manner, physicians will see patients in the order of the severity of their illness or injury.
Please keep in mind that an evaluation in the Emergency Department usually takes two to three hours. If specialized, diagnostic tests are needed, the duration of your visit may be longer.
The space available inside each Emergency Department treatment room is limited. In order to meet the patients needs and maintain the privacy of all our patients, relatives and friends will be asked to remain in the reception area initially, unless their presence is absolutely necessary for patient care. Parents may stay with their children.
After the physician has completed the medical evaluation, a family member or friend may be allowed to stay with the patient. It is essential that visitors remain at the patient's bedside while inside the treatment area.
When all of your test results are received, the Emergency Department physician will re-evaluate you. You may be released or admitted to the hospital based on these results and your condition.
If you require an inpatient stay, your private physician or their call coverage will be contacted to help in the decision. If you do not have a physician, one will be assigned to you from our on-call list of specialists.
An extended waiting time may occur due to delays in the test results, hospital bed availability or specialist consultations.
When you are released from the Emergency Department, you will be given detailed, written after-care instructions to follow. It is very important that you understand and follow these instructions. Please remember to follow-up with your private physician or the physician that you were referred to. Follow-up is mandatory for the completion of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) papers or work excuses. We cannot provide these certifications.
We know that no one wants to be a patient in the Emergency Department. We understand that patients and their families may be upset or frightened by their illness or injury. Please rest assured that our clinical staff is highly trained to provide you and your loved ones with the best medical care available. If you have any questions after your care or if there is anything more that we can do for you, please feel free to call St. Mary's Emergency Department at (812) 485-4491.