Making the decision to visit an emergency room is not a simple one for most people. Emergency rooms in Indiana are often overcrowded, which means long wait times for sick individuals who would rather be resting at home.
So, when you are ill, how do you know if you should visit an emergency room or try to wait to see your doctor during regular office hours? There are a few signs and symptoms you can watch for that can help you make the decision.
When to Visit an ER
Some symptoms are more serious than others, but you should always err on the side of caution if you suspect you may need emergency treatment. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should visit an emergency room immediately:
● Shortness of breath: Wheezing, shallow breathing, and any difficulty breathing require a prompt visit to the emergency room.
● Chest pain: A potential sign of a heart attack or other cardiovascular issue, you should always visit an ER when you have chest pain.
● Displaced or open wound fractures: Displaced and broken bones require immediate medical attention as they must be reset. Open wound fractures also carry the potential for serious infections if not treated right away.
● Fainting or dizziness: These symptoms are often not cause for concern but could be indicative of a more serious underlying condition. Do not hesitate to seek emergency treatment if you are concerned.
● Sudden numbness or weakness: Sometimes a symptom of stroke, tumors, back and neck damage, and other serious conditions, these symptoms should be checked by a doctor immediately.
● Bleeding that cannot be stopped: A person can only lose so much blood before it becomes life-threatening. A doctor can stop the bleeding and determine the cause of excessive bleeding.
● Abdominal pain: There are many causes of abdominal pain, and not all of them are serious. However, if you experience intense localized abdominal pain, you should visit the emergency room.
● Fever: Adults should visit the emergency room when any fever is accompanied by convulsions. Any fever in a child under three months of age warrants a trip to the emergency room.
● Confusion: This is one change in mental status that should be checked by a doctor right away, but any sudden change in a person’s mental or cognitive health should be checked by a doctor.
● Coughing or vomiting blood: A very serious symptom, this could indicate an infection, cancer, or problems in the blood vessels located in the lungs.
● Severe headache or head injury: Any head injury is considered very serious, particularly if you are taking aspirin or blood thinners.
● Blood in the urine or bloody diarrhea: Both of these symptoms can indicate a very serious underlying health condition and should be checked right away.
● Sudden inability to speak, see, walk, or move: These are all signs of a stroke, and medical attention is needed immediately.
It is important to understand some additional considerations. For instance, not all emergency rooms can deliver the same level of care. Some emergency rooms are better equipped to handle serious trauma than others. Also, the care and treatment you receive also should be within an acceptable standard of care. Some common emergency room negligence we see relate to a failure to properly diagnose, a failure to order the appropriate tests, a failure to timely treat or admit, and a failure to appropriately refer or transfer a patient. If the treatment you receive fails to meet the acceptable standard of care, and you suffer harm as a result, you should speak with a knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyer about your legal rights.
Suffered from Emergency Room Negligence? Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
Patients rely on ER doctors and other healthcare professionals to provide proper care when they need it the most. When emergency room staff fail to do so, patients should speak to an Indiana medical malpractice lawyer.
If you believe that you are the victim of medical malpractice, contact our experienced attorneys at Baker & Gilchrist. These cases are extremely complex, and our attorneys will take the time to review the details of your claim and explain your options.
Contact us now to arrange a free case review with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.