Difference between ER and Non-ER case – When should you panic?

A medical emergency is one of the most stressful situations for a patient as well as their family, and mistakes can often happen in a state of panic. What may be an emergency for you, may not be deemed so by the treating doctor. So this is your guide to differentiating between a situation that directly needs to be reported to the emergency room, and one which would only require immediate care and may not be as serious as you might think!

What are ER cases?

According to medical experts, serious injuries to a body part or a situation that threatens the life of person require the suffering person to be immediately brought to the ER. Heart attack, allergies, serious wounds – they are all emergency situations.

A situation that could also lead to loss of limb needs to be brought to the ER.

Complications due to a disease or severe pain that could hamper body’s normal functions also come under the purview of ER. In such a scenario, the patient suffers from multiple symptoms at a time, and that could be fatal. For instance, liver functioning tests in a person suffering from liver cirrhosis could suddenly spike up. The immediate symptoms would be severe itching and yellowness of skin and eyes. This person needs to be brought to the ER immediately.

Certain other unpredictable and life-threatening events may happen that the patient has no control over. It comes as no surprise that an accident of any kind needs to be brought to the ER. Even if the victim looks fine, there might be internal injuries. If you or someone you know is suffering from a severe case of food poisoning, hypertension or low pressure, seizures, or any condition that goes out of hand, go to the ER immediately.

What are Non – ER cases?

Any situation that a person thinks he may have, but does not actually have falls under a non-ER case. Like a person may think he is suffering from severe respiratory issues, and there must be something serious if their breathing is constricted, but in most instances, this is the typical case of hyperventilation!
High fever, cold and cough may require urgent care but are not ER cases.

Sprains and fractures would be better handled at a doctors clinic where exhaustive scans and tests would help in proper treatment.

Why is this knowledge important?

When ER doctors and nurses attend to a situation that may not be serious, that takes away attention and resources from the patient who may be dying.

Also, the immediate response of the people who care would be to take the patient to the hospital, while the patient knows that the situation of crisis was somehow averted and that he/she is fine. Doctors have advised to take a moment or two, and properly assess the situation, that could probably save such people a trip to the ER. Having said that whether the case is ER or non-ER – any situation is better managed pragmatically so that root cause of the problem, as well as an effective course of treatment, can be properly determined.

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