Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Emergency Rooms Struggle

Rules for Emergency Rooms:

  1. Only go if you're dying.
  2. Have your Primary Care Physician call ahead if you're driving over.
  3. Don't go for routine stuff--ever. There are plenty of local clinics now.
  4. If you have a child, go to a Children's Hospitals. Regular Emergency Rooms don't have the staff and/or expertise to deal with most kids stuff.
  5. Don't go for immobilizing back pain. Call a Chiropractor first. This is their bread and butter, people. They know what to do. They'll refer you on if it's a kidney problem, if it's surgical, if it's meningitis, etc.
  6. Don't go for dehydration secondary to viri. Do what they do: go get some Powerade, give a teaspoon every ten minutes for two hours.
  7. If you get migraines, have your doc give you a prescription. Take your meds with you.
  8. Repeat: Only go if you're dying or severely injured.
Emergency rooms are for severe traumas like gun shot wounds, broken bones, severe lacerations, burns, etc. They are for severe health crisis like myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), appendicitis, shock, heat stroke, etc.

The reason so many Emergency Departments are overwhelmed is because people with no financial means use the ER as their Primary Care. This is selfish and stupid and should be banned. Other, more severe cases need the space for help.

1 comment:

Buck Spencer said...

Dr. Melissa,

Incredibly eye-opening post. Thank you.

We don't take our 3 year old to the pediatrician for "well baby" visits for similar reasons. Most pediatricians have high volume operations and do very little to separate well kids from sick kids.