1) Hospitals & Emergency Departments are FULL. Unless you are dying, you will likely wait many hours to be seen.
2) If you are sick or injured to the level that you need an emergency room, please go, EVEN THOUGH it may be many hours before you’re seen. Bring a book, your phone, a tablet, & be ready to settle in. If you’re lucky enough to get a visitor allowed in with you, they should bring snacks for themselves because they likely won’t be able to leave & come back if they get hungry.
3) You will be seen based on your acuity level, or how serious your condition is based on your vitals & medical assessment, NOT the order in which you arrived. If someone who came in after you goes back first, that’s probably because they are sicker. That said, you WILL eventually be seen even if you’re not high acuity, it just won’t be on your preferred timeline.
4) Your acuity DOES NOT EQUAL how miserable you are. Acuity is how likely you are to die or lose a body part if you’re not treated immediately. If you are lower acuity than this, it doesn’t mean you’re not miserable or that your illness or injury is not valid. It just means other people are sicker.
5) If you are waiting in the ER for hours, don’t leave just because
you are impatient. YOU WILL LOSE YOUR SPOT IN LINE. If you leave & later need to come back, unless you are now dying, you will be back at the bottom of the queue because you LOST YOUR SPOT IN LINE. If you had stayed, you would have been seen sooner than if you left & came back.
6) Going to the ER by ambulance will NOT get you seen sooner (unless you are dying). You are still triaged based on your acuity level, not your mode of arrival.
7) If the ambulance takes a while to get to you, know that there aren’t that many of us on the streets right now. We are understaffed with increased demand, like the rest of healthcare. We are exhausted.
I know you feel sick. I know you are in pain. So is everyone else in the ER. We’re not ignoring you, we are trying to care for as many people as possible but we are outnumbered.
9) Do what you can for your health & mitigate your risks. Don’t use the ER for routine COVID or flu tests. Don’t call 911 for dental pain (you need a dentist). If your condition is not an emergency, call your doctor. They want to take care of you, too. 911 & the ER are for emergencies.
10) Please don’t yell at, berate, threaten, or assault us when it seems like something isn’t going your way. We are doing what we can, but many things are out of our hands or beyond our capabilities. We’re not here to be your punching bag to vent your frustration. We’re frustrated, too, on your behalf.
11) We are still here when you need our help, but we need your help, too.