Calling 911 when it’s unnecessary, or going to the ER when you don’t need to, not only costs you money, but it also ties up resources that could be used for someone in real need. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, most people who go to an emergency room (ER) do not need emergency care.
The Timpanogos Regional Hospital Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to serve our community’s healthcare needs. Our department is based on a triage system, so getting there first doesn’t mean you’ll be seen first. The triage system allocates treatment to patients based upon the severity of their conditions. In some cases it may be best to wait it out until you can see your regular doctor.
The following are some general guidelines to help you decide when a trip to the ER is necessary.
When to go to the ER:
- Airway- Is breathing restricted? If something happens or symptoms set in and you or a person you’re with is struggling to breathe call 911 immediately.
- Heart Attack - If there are signs or symptoms of a heart attack call 911 immediately.
- Pain in the chest, left arm or jaw.
- Women tend to feel symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden dizziness
- Weakness or nausea
- Unexplained sweating or fatigue
- Stroke- Call 911 if you see these signs of stroke:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in a limb or one side of your face
- Sudden speech difficulties (gibberish, jumbling or slurring of words)
- Trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
- Unexpected dizziness or loss of balance
- Head Injury- Any head injury that results in the following symptoms (even a couple of hours later) warrants a visit to the ER.
- Loss of consciousness
- A seizure
- Broken Bone- Joints or limbs that look drastically misshapen or out of place.
- Bleeding- Bleeding that doesn’t stop, or a wound that is gaping so that you can see muscle.
- Burns- Serious burns that cover an area larger than two or three inches, breaks the outer layer of skin or causes numbness.
- Fever- Fevers higher than 100.3°F for newborns (up to 3 months old) and higher than 105°F for everyone else, which can’t be controlled.
- Vomiting- If you have vomiting or diarrhea that make it impossible to keep even the smallest amounts of fluid down, it can lead to severe dehydration.
- Severe Abdominal Pain- Severe abdominal pain can signal several severe types of infections and needs to be checked out by a doctor.
- Kidney stones or infection
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Mental health problems like overdose and feeling suicidal
- Severe allergic reactions
- Black stools that can indicate bleeding
- Diabetic problems- High or low blood sugar
Remember, use good judgment in deciding when to use emergency medical services. Learn the signs of serious illness and trust your instincts.