An emergency is a condition that may cause lasting harm or loss of life or limb. An emergency requires immediate treatment. You do not need approval for emergency care.
Examples of a medical emergency include:
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing
- Loss of speech
- Paralysis (unable to move)
- Unconsciousness (blacking out)
- Convulsions or seizures
- Sudden onset of severe pain
- Severe cuts or burns
- Severe or unusual bleeding
- Any vaginal bleeding if you are pregnant
- A serious accident
- A physical attack or rape
- Head or eye injuries
- High fever
- Feeling like you are going to hurt yourself or someone else
What to do in an Emergency
- Go directly to the nearest hospital Emergency Room (ER)
- Dial 911 for an ambulance if you need help getting to an emergency room fast
After the emergency is over
Make an appointment with your PCMP for follow-up care. Do not go back to the ER where you were treated unless your PCMP tells you to.
There are times when it is hard to know if your situation is an emergency. If you are not sure, here are some ways to help you decide if a situation is an emergency:
- Call your PCMP. ICHP PCMP’s have on-call staff to answer patient questions after hours.
- If you can’t reach your PCMP, call the Nurse-Advice-Line. The call is free and the line is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with registered nurses (RN’s). They’re number is 1-800-283-3221.
Your PCMP or the nurse will help you decide if you need to go to your PCP’s office, an urgent care center or the ER.
When you talk to your PCMP or the Nurse Advice Line, be ready to tell them as much as you know about the medical problem. Be ready to tell them:
- What the problem is
- How long have you been having the problem (pain, bleeding, etc)
- What has been done for the problem so far
Your PCMP or the Nurse Advice Line may ask other questions to help them decide if:
- You need an appointment
- You should go to an urgent care center
- You should go to the emergency room
Examples of Urgent Medical Conditions:
- Most broken bones
- Minor cuts and burns
- Mild to moderate bleeding
Examples of conditions that do not usually need Urgent or Emergency care:
- Colds and flu
- Sore throat
- Sinus congestion
With these conditions, call your PCMP to make an appointment and tell them about your symptoms or illness. If you are unsure, call the PCMP or the Nurse Advice Line.