What to expect when you come to the Emergency Room

You Arrive at the Emergency

Whether you arrive by ambulance or private vehicle, you will be assessed right away to determine the severity of your illness or injury. You will be asked about  your symptoms, current illnesses, current medications, allergies, tetanus shots, etc. Your vital signs (temperature, pulse, respiration, blood pressure) will be taken at this point.

Unlike a doctor’s office, the Emergency Room does not accept appointments. Patients with more serious problems are seen first. If you have an "emergent" condition (life-threatening illness or injury), you will be taken immediately to a treatment area. If your condition is not emergent, you may be asked to wait until a physician is available to see you.

Registration Occurs

You will be asked for your name, address, phone number, insurance and other relevant registration information. This allows us to maintain accurate medical records. In some instances, we may need to notify you of a test result in the days following your Emergency Room visit. Your registration record will facilitate this process.

You may not feel like answering questions during the registration process. In this case, the Registration Clerk will attempt to secure applicable registration information from family or friends if present. If not, every attempt will be made to ensure your comfort during the registration process.

Medication Journal

On this journal:
  • List all medications you are taking (prescription, nonprescription, vitamins, herbal products, dietary supplements, sample medications, eye drops, inhalation therapy, injections and oxygen).
  • Bring this to every doctor and pharmacy visit.
  • Cross off medicine you no longer take.
  • Keep this journal with you at all times.
Click HERE to start filling out your journal!

You Are Placed in a Treatment Area

Once you  are  placed in an assigned treatment area, the nurse and/or technician will ask for additional medical history. Your condition will be assessed by the Emergency Room nurse. You may be asked to undress and put on a hospital gown so that the doctor may do an exam.

Monitoring equipment may be attached so that we can continually monitor your condition from the nursing station. Periodically, someone will visit you, but in the meantime, our technology is providing us with ongoing information about your progress.

A NOTE FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS: If you bring a loved one to the Emergency Room, you may be separated from the patient. This may happen for a variety of reasons: the patient urgently needs treatment, tests are necessary, other patients arrive who are seriously ill or injured, or other circumstances that limit visitation privileges. Please be assured, your loved one is in good hands. With this said, we will make every effort to keep family and friends with you as much as possible.

The Doctor Examines You

The Emergency Room doctor or our mid-level practitioner who sees you is a highly skilled professional and will examine you as soon as possible after you are placed in a bed. However, the doctor may be delayed if more critical patients arrive unexpectedly.

Tests Are Done

The doctor or mid-level practitioner will order tests or x-rays he/she feels necessary. Some tests require blood to be drawn, while others may require you to go to another department. A technician will take you if you must leave the department. Obtaining results of tests/x-rays may take time, so please be patient with us.

The Doctor or Mid-Level Practitioner Explains Your Test Results
As soon as your lab work and x-ray results are available, the doctor or mid-level practitioner will explain the findings. Occasionally, an additional test may be necessary.

You are Treated

Depending on your particular situation, your treatment may be simple or complex.  The treatment may consist of splints, bandages, IV’s, or medications. It may take a few minutes or several hours depending on your illness or injury and the presence of other patients.

Your Outcome

The Emergency Room physician will determine if you are to be discharged from the Emergency Room, admitted to the hospital, or transferred to another facility. The doctor may speak with your family doctor or other specialist about your treatment. Sometimes calls to other doctors cause delays, especially if they are unable to answer our calls immediately.

If you are discharged home, you will be provided with a copy of your discharge instructions and any prescriptions the doctor has written. We will explain your instructions and prescriptions and answer any questions about your care or treatment. You are responsible for your own care after you leave the ER. If you are admitted to the hospital or are transferred to another hospital, you may have to wait in the ER until a room is available and/or prepared.

Finally, if you have any questions, please ask. As your Emergency Services Team, we are here to provide quality care. Thank you for choosing McDonough District Hospital’s Emergency Room for your care.