If you have a medical emergency, going to the emergency room at the closest hospital probably makes sense. After all, whether you are suffering from a heart attack, stroke, nerve damage or any other serious condition, time is critical. If you do not receive prompt diagnosis and treatment, you may suffer additional injuries or even die.
Emergency rooms are busy places, nowadays. Depending on where you live and the hospital you visit, you may spend many hours in the waiting room. To determine which patients to see first, most hospitals have a triage plan.
According to an emergency medicine report from Doctors Charles Yancey and Maria O’Rourke, hospitals in the U.S. usually follow the START formula. This formula requires simple triage and rapid treatment.
When you go to the ER, you can expect someone to check you in. When this happens, you explain your symptoms. A computer algorithm then determines how quickly you can proceed to the examination room. As you may suspect, this algorithm is not always correct.
Even if you are in considerable pain, some illnesses and injuries do not require immediate treatment. Nevertheless, if you have certain conditions, you may be at risk of worsening health. Therefore, it may be wise to take someone with you to the ER who can advocate for your health care interests.
Even when you are in the waiting room, the hospital has some duty to care for you. Ultimately, if you suffer additional harm due to a long wait in the ER, you may have grounds to pursue financial compensation.