A trip to the emergency room can be a terribly harassing and energy draining experience. The wailing of the ambulance siren, the red ambulance lights, the constant rush of doctors and nurses, the tick-tock of the clock that sounds deafening as you wait for your turn to be taken care of – all of these can contribute to an impending feeling of dread and doom. But you do not have to let all emergency room visits be associated with negative emotions. If you are well-versed in medical related matters or at least those that you should know as a patient, you can have a not-so-threatening emergency room encounter. So what exactly are we talking about? Well as health professionals ourselves, we know that there are 10 things that your ER doctor would like to know during your transaction with him. Having knowledge of these things could facilitate better interaction between the two of you.
Is the situation really an emergency? Remember that the ER is the place where any person with a medical condition would be brought to. Life threatening conditions would be prioritized over less complicated ones. Don’t be offended then if after being assessed by a triage nurse, you are asked to patiently wait for someone to attend to your needs.
Is this your first time to the ER? Believe it or not, there are people who would frequently visit the ER – for one reason or another. If you have to visit the ER again, it would be more useful if you go to the ER that you have gone to previously because the people there have your medical record and they may come in handy during your succeeding visits.
Are you sure about your symptoms? What exactly are you suffering from? It’s important for you to be clear about your symptoms for your diagnosis to be accurate too. You can’t be suffering from everything and anything.
Do you have a question? What are you usually worried about when you visit the ER? Is it just the symptoms? Is it the cost? If you are feeling anxious and you have several questions going through your head, your doctor would like to know what they are as they may have relevance to your current situation.
Do you have an emergency file? What’s your Medical history? Your doctor would rather that you have an emergency file ready for him to know more details about you. These details include facts like: if you have existing conditions, if you’re taking prescription drugs and if you’ve been admitted to the hospital before. All of these could help your doctor understand your situation more.
You might be subject to more tests, are you ready for them? Sometimes, laboratory tests and other medical tests might be essential. But patients have to be ready for them since they can be energy sapping. If you are to be tested for anything, your doctor would like to know if you are physically and psychologically as readiness alleviates stress associated with being tested.
You need to sign an agreement, are you willing to sign it? If your doctor gives you drugs that are normally illegal but medically allowed, you will have to sign a contract or agreement with him that you will not use the drugs in any way other than their original purpose.
You’re ready to be discharged; can you remember the final instructions given to you? Many times, doctors may want their patients to return to the hospital for further check-up. They may also prescribe them medication for a specific period in order to prevent symptoms from re-appearing as well as to avoid being unnecessarily admitted to the hospital once more. Because of these things, your doctor then would like to know if you have an idea regarding what you’re supposed to do after being discharged from the hospital.
Do you have a health plan or a medical insurance? Of course hospitalization can be quite expensive so any medical professional would like to know if you have insurance or if everything will be out-of-your-pocket.
What does your insurance cover? If you do have insurance, your doctor would want to know what it covers. Is it basic or extensive? How many free hospital visits can you have as stated in your insurance policies? In the event that you have insurance concerns, you can always find a social worker who can help you find answers to these concerns.
By Michele Libman, M.D for The Healthy Moms Blog Magazine
Michele Libman, M.D. is one of only a few south Florida physicians Board Certified in two specialities: Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine. She obtained her medical degree from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York in 1993. She completed her internal medicine residency at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Libman furthered her medical education by completing one of the top emergency medicine residencies at Jacobi Hospital and Montefiore Medical Center in New York. She moved to Martin County Florida in 2000 and has practiced as an emergency room physician at Martin Memorial Hospital and Lawnwood Regional Medical Center. She resides in Palm City with her husband Rob, her son Daniel, and her three dogs Jack, Casey and Stitch.
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