ER Do’s and Dont’s
DON'T eat en route. "Unless you're diabetic or hypoglycemic, people should always try and refrain from eating on the way to the hospital because you never know when something like a 'sprained ankle' will really be a bad fracture that requires surgery," says M. Hunter Neale, a physician's assistant with Piedmont Emergency Medicine Associates. Having food in your stomach is dangerous because people often get sick from the anesthesia and can aspirate food particles or vomit into their lungs and choke to death.
DO have a family member or friend go with you. "We often give patients pain medications, and they aren't able to drive home afterward," says Neale. "A close family member or friend can also usually answer medical history questions if the patient is unable to give us that information at that time, and usually have access to other family members or friends just in case something goes wrong. Also, sometimes unexpectedly we have to give you bad news. It's always helpful if you have a good support system."
DO bring a list of meds with you. "Know their dosages, how often, and why you take them, and what meds you're allergic to," says Neale. "We need to know what medications they're on to prevent allergic reactions or how their current meds will affect meds we might give them in the ER."
DO be patient. "People should anticipate that a visit to the ER is not going to be a short one," advises Neale, who says the average wait can be four to six hours. "Making complaints like, ‘How much longer do I have to wait to see the doctor?' doesn't help."
More from Charlotte magazine's Your Healthiest You package:
- Your Healthiest You: Navigating the modern healthcare system
- Finding a Doctor: How to avoid the most important doctors in your life
- Well Appointed: 5 ways to get more from your next doctor's visit
- Shoot It: Vaccines and immunizations you may not have received yet, but should
- Tests and Screenings You Shouldn't Miss
- ER Dos and Don'ts
- Medical Myths: Debunking junk science
- Tackling Insurance