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What to Expect in the ER

What to expect in the emergency room


When you arrive, your condition will be evaluated for severity by a registered nurse. At most of our hospitals, we have a special area for children and also for minor illnesses/injuries to help patients be seen as quickly as possible.

To receive timely and appropriate care, here are a few things to remember:

  • Because it may interfere with your treatment, please check with the triage nurse before using the restroom, eating or drinking.
  • Please turn your cell phone off. If you need a phone, our staff will be happy to help you.
  • We'll do our best to inform you of any unexpected delays while you're in the emergency department.


Registration is necessary so that a medical record can be made of your visit. You'll be asked to sign a consent for treatment and financial responsibility. It's important that your registration information be complete and accurate so that we can contact you about your treatment plan if necessary.


Emergency staff will prepare you for a doctor's examination. Blood tests, x-rays or other tests may be taken at this time. If you're in pain, efforts will be made to relieve it as soon as possible. But in some cases, medication can only be given after tests or x-rays have been completed.

X-rays are interpreted first by an emergency physician and also read by a radiologist. We'll contact you about any significant additional findings or change in your follow-up care.

Why am I waiting?

We try to see every emergency patient as quickly as possible. Here are some situations that can cause delays:

  • Critically ill/injured patients need to receive priority treatment, even if they arrived at the ED after you.
  • Lab and/or x-ray has been called to perform a procedure to help evaluate your condition.
  • Lab tests are highly sophisticated and take time to complete.
  • A specialty room is needed for your treatment. 

Family and friends

Many patients share important information while alone with the physician. Please understand that, in most cases, the physician will want to spend some private time with the patient before family and friends are allowed in the room. If you have someone waiting for you, let us know and we'll keep them posted about your progress.

We ask all family and friends to check with the triage nurse or the admitting staff before entering the exam area. Please keep children under the supervision of an adult.


If it's necessary for you to be admitted to the hospital from the Emergency Department, your ED physician will coordinate with your doctor or one of the hospital's in-house doctors to continue your treatment. When your care is completed, staff will provide you with written and verbal instructions.


Your ED visit co-pay will be requested before you leave. The hospital will bill you or your insurance company for its services; the emergency physician and radiologist will send separate bills for their services.

If you have any questions or concerns about your visit, please ask a staff member.