12 doctors weighed in:
How can I tell if I need to go to the emergency department?
12 doctors weighed in

Mike Moore
Family Medicine
7 doctors agree
In brief: IT DEPENDS
Emergency departments should be used for emergencies (chest pain, trouble breathing, severe stomach pain, serious injuries, etc).
Ed's should not be used for minor illnesses (common cold, etc). Establish a relationship with a primary care physician who can treat all your non-emergent problems. When in doubt go to the ed, but don't be surprised at the wait or your bill if it isn't an emergency..

In brief: IT DEPENDS
Emergency departments should be used for emergencies (chest pain, trouble breathing, severe stomach pain, serious injuries, etc).
Ed's should not be used for minor illnesses (common cold, etc). Establish a relationship with a primary care physician who can treat all your non-emergent problems. When in doubt go to the ed, but don't be surprised at the wait or your bill if it isn't an emergency..
Mike Moore
Mike Moore
Answer assisted by Mike Moore, Medical Student
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1 comment
Dr. Joshua Batt
Well said. If more people knew this, overcrowding the the ED's would not be such a big problem.
Dr. Basil Harris
Emergency Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Always ok to goto ER
Aside from major traumatic events, choking, or obvious life-threatening illnesses, most of the time it is much harder to decide if what you are experiencing is a real emergency.
A call to your primary doc can sometime alleviate concerns and many problems can be resolved in their office. If you feel your condition is serious then a trip to the er is the right choice. It's always ok to go to er.

In brief: Always ok to goto ER
Aside from major traumatic events, choking, or obvious life-threatening illnesses, most of the time it is much harder to decide if what you are experiencing is a real emergency.
A call to your primary doc can sometime alleviate concerns and many problems can be resolved in their office. If you feel your condition is serious then a trip to the er is the right choice. It's always ok to go to er.
Dr. Basil Harris
Dr. Basil Harris
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Dr. William Forsythe
Emergency Medicine
In brief: If concerned
If you have concerns for a serious health problem or condition you feel should not wait to be seen, go in.

In brief: If concerned
If you have concerns for a serious health problem or condition you feel should not wait to be seen, go in.
Dr. William Forsythe
Dr. William Forsythe
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Dr. William Forsythe
Board Certified, Emergency Medicine
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