Sunday, February 14, 2010

What can I expect from my emergency department visit?

What can I expect from my ED visit? If you have an acute problem (meaning it is causing rather short lived and causing you discomfort right now) you can expect an evaluation and acute treatment for that problem. If you have a cut, we can sew it up. If you have a fracture, we will splint it. If you have a knife in your chest, we will pull it out and sew you back together.

What will we not do? If you have had abdominal pain for years and not gotten your doctor to do what you want, don't come to the ED hoping that the ED provider will come up with a magical answer for you. You won't get the CT scan for the headaches you've been having every day for 10 years or the xray for the ankle pain you've had for 6 months and had 10 normal xrays.

We are here to rule out the life threatening causes to your problem and give you immediate treatment. Think of us as the band aid to fix the problem until you can see your primary care provider or a specialist. If you come in with abdominal pain, we might rule out the bad stuff but might not be able to give you a diagnosis today. That is left up to your primary care provider- we will tell you all the things you don't have, give you pain medication, make sure you are able to eat and drink and send you home to follow up. I have often seen people who have had a chronic problem that they aren't happy with the way their primary care provider has treated so they come to the ED hoping that we will solve their problem for them. Unfortunately, that doesn't usually happen.


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