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When to Go to the ER in the Greater Sacramento Area

The emergency room, or ER, is a hospital service where people can seek help for serious injuries or illnesses that cannot be managed or treated at home, in a doctor’s office, or at an urgent care facility. Most ERs, including those at Dignity Health, are open 24/7.

Sometimes it’s difficult when to know to go the emergency room instead of an urgent care center. Some examples of conditions that should be treated in one of the state-of-the-art ERs at Dignity Health include:

  • Injuries that could result in death or disability, such as a brain or spinal cord injury
  • Suspected or actual poisoning
  • Stroke
  • Broken bones
  • Heart attack

Call 911 or go to your nearest ER for these signs and symptoms of emergency conditions:

  • Sudden inability to speak or difficulty speaking
  • Pain and/or swelling in a limb after falling or other type of accident
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as swelling
  • Sudden onset of weakness on one side of your body
  • Injury to your back or neck with altered sensation or inability to move your arms or legs
  • Seizures
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing or being short of breath

These are just a few examples of when to go to the ER, but there are a variety of other reasons to be seen by one of the trusted doctors at Dignity Health. We provide emergency care throughout the Sacramento region.

At Dignity Health, our emergency rooms at our six hospitals are Primary Stroke Centers and have the latest equipment and medications to manage serious and life-threatening illness or injuries. We have access to advanced testing, such as CT scans and X-rays. Emergency medicine doctors and other specialists are available at all hours to see patients or advise staff on how to manage specific situations, including the need for emergency surgery

In addition, several of our hospitals are accredited Chest Pain Centers, and Mercy San Juan Medical Center offers a Level 2 Trauma Center to provide care that specific to your emergency.


What You Can Expect at a Dignity Health ER

When you arrive in the ER, your first encounter will likely be with a triage nurse to assess the urgency of your condition. The nurse takes your information and will ask questions about your symptoms. It’s helpful to be as specific as possible. 

Experienced and highly trained ER doctor and nurses will assess you again in more detail to determine what care you need, which could include:

  • X-rays and other imaging tests
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests 

Depending on your condition, the ER doctor may consult with other specialists in the hospital or by phone. Following your ER assessment, tests, and treatment, your care team may send you home with instructions for care and prescriptions, if necessary. They may also admit you to the hospital for observation or treatment, including emergency surgery

In every department at Dignity Health, we strive to offer the best possible care for our patients. Our ER sees patients based on available staff and resources, which can result in long wait times due to inability to plan for a surge in traffic. 

The emergency staff at Dignity Health is here to help at our ERs in the Greater Sacramento area.