Overview of emergency services
Emergency services care for people with serious and life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Emergency medicine doctors rapidly diagnose and treat sudden illnesses, pain, mental health conditions, injuries, and complications of chronic diseases. They also sometimes take care of patients with non-emergency conditions.
You can receive treatment from trusted emergency medicine doctors at Dignity Health. Find an emergency location near you to receive the fast, quality care that you need.
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Why it’s necessary
Emergency care is necessary for any condition that is life-threatening. Unlike your regular doctor’s office, emergency departments are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They have specialized equipment and highly trained physicians who can respond to any kind of adult or child emergency they encounter.
Emergency departments will treat patients regardless of whether or not they are able to pay for their services. This is through a federal mandate. Emergency rooms often become crowded and backed up with patients seeking care. Departments will use a triage process to see patients based on the severity of their illness or injury. Those with the most severe conditions will be seen first.
Common conditions treated with emergency services
You may need emergency services for the following:
- Actual or suspected poisoning
- Allergies, including seasonal allergies, exposure to poison ivy, and anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction
- Bone, joint, and muscle problems, including fractures, joint dislocations, sprains, strains, serious bruises, and back and knee pain
- Endocrine diseases, including diabetes and adrenal crisis
- Fever and infections, including meningitis, sepsis, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, pink eye, pneumonia, strep throat, mononucleosis, upper respiratory infection, flu, abscesses, and stomach flu
- Genitourinary and reproductive conditions, including kidney stones, bladder infections, miscarriage, vaginitis, testicular torsion, sexually transmitted diseases, and pelvic inflammatory disease
- Heart and lung problems, including cardiac arrest, chest pain, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attack, heart failure, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), pulmonary embolism, and pulmonary edema
- Mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder, psychosis, drug overdose, anxiety, depression, and threats or attempts at suicide
- Neurological conditions, including stroke, TIA (transient ischemic attack), and headaches, such as migraines
- Possible child abuse and sexual assault, including evaluation, initial treatment, evidence collection, and notification of appropriate agencies
- Trauma and injuries, including burns, eye injuries, major cuts, spinal cord injury, multiple trauma, smoke inhalation, shock, and head injury
Our emergency services include:
- Airway stabilization, including intubation and mechanical ventilation for breathing
- Fracture, sprain, and strain treatments, including realigning broken bones, splinting, and casting
- Heart treatments, including defibrillation and pacemaker implantation
- IV (intravenous) fluids and other medications, including blood transfusions, oxygen, tetanus shots, pain medications, antibiotics, corticosteroids, breathing treatments, and medicines for heart attack
- Important prescription refills for serious chronic diseases, such as seizures and diabetes
- Laceration and wound repair, including stitches (suturing) and staples
- Mental health evaluation and treatment, including crisis intervention, involuntary mental health hold, medications, and referrals
- Trauma treatment, including thoracotomy to treat chest trauma, chest tube insertion to treat collapsed lung, and spinal immobilization to stabilize possible spinal fractures
If you or someone you are with has an emergency, call 911 for the most rapid emergency care and transportation to the hospital. You will receive care from the emergency medicine doctor who is available when you arrive.
The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.