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Understanding When to Go to the ER in Central California

You may need to visit an emergency room (ER) if you have an injury or illness that can’t wait to be treated at your doctor’s office or be managed at home. At Dignity Health Central California, our ERs have the necessary equipment, medications, and personnel to treat life-threatening conditions. 

Our emergency doctors or specialists diagnose and treat your medical condition with personal care. If you aren’t sure if your condition needs emergency care, your Dignity Health doctor can advise you when to go to the ER in Central California. 

Headed to the ER? Use InQuicker, our online waiting service, to select your estimated arrival time.


Know When to Seek Emergency Care

Conditions that should be treated in the emergency room include:


When to Call 911

Some symptoms are a sign of a medical emergency. Call 911 or go to the nearest ER if you experience: 

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Sudden weakness on one side of your body
  • Altered sensation or inability to move your arms or legs
  • Difficulty speaking, or a sudden inability to speak
  • Pain or swelling in a limb after falling or another impact
  • Swelling of the lips or tongue, or other signs of an allergic reaction
  • Seizures


Emergency Services at Dignity Health Central California

When you arrive at the ER, a triage nurse will assess the severity of your condition . You will need to provide some personal information and answer questions about your symptoms. Be as specific as possible.

It is important to remember that the sickest and the most-severely injured people receive care first. As such, you may be asked to wait if your condition is not urgent. Let the nurse know right away if your symptoms become worse as you wait. 

During your full medical evaluation, the ER doctor will examine you closely and may order some tests to help with diagnosis, including: 

  • Blood tests
  • X-rays or other imaging scans
  • Urine tests

Once your condition is diagnosed, your doctor will explain your treatment options and make a recommendation.

If you need further care, such as emergency surgery, you will be admitted to the hospital. If you are well enough to go home, you will be released with detailed instructions for continued care at home and, if necessary, prescriptions. Find a Doctor if you need a follow-up appointment with a primary care doctor or specialist for further treatment.

Our medical experts define health as more than just the absence of disease. Learn more about our holistic approach to health care.

Dignity Health Central California provides timely and knowledgeable care when you need to go to the ER in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.