A medical emergency can strike unexpectedly; however, the quick thinking and actions of others can initiate the emergency response process and potentially save a life. Although the types of injuries and medical concerns seen in an ER spread across the board, there are a handful of common issues ER doctors treat every day.
Common injuries and medical concerns in the ER
- Chest pain: If you develop chest pain, especially if you experience heaviness or pressure, don’t wait to contact emergency services. Even if the ER team finds that the chest pain stems from a non-life threatening condition, it is not worth the risk to wait.
- Abdominal pain: Pinpointing the cause of abdominal pain can be tricky, and, although gastrointestinal distress can generate a great deal of discomfort, it doesn’t necessarily mean the condition is life threatening. However, if you experience severe abdominal pain accompanied by the following, seek medical attention immediately.
o Uncontrollable bleeding
o Uncontrollable vomiting
o Vomiting blood
o Chest pain
o Dizziness or fainting
o Breathing difficulty
- Strains, sprains, and fractures: Muscle and bone injuries are extremely common, especially for athletes. It may be difficult to determine if the injury needs immediate medical attention, so, in general, if you suspect a fracture, go to the ER. Although the severity of a fracture determines the type of treatment is required, some fractures can result in long-term damage or life-threatening situations if they are not treated immediately.
- Difficulty breathing: Any difficulty with breathing or shortness of breath is cause for concern and should be taken seriously. Shortness of breath could be a sign of a medical emergency such as a heart attack. If you experience breathing difficulties that come on suddenly or seem to get worse, call 911 immediately.