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Action Points: 5 Things to Do Before Heading to the ER

When medical emergencies strike, be that hero!

Although we aren’t able to plan when or how these emergencies occur, there are a few things that you can plan in advance to make sure you handle the situation as efficiently as possible. In some cases, your immediate reaction can mean the difference between life and death, even before you dial 911 or head to the nearest Advance ER. Here are 5 things to do first when emergency strikes:

Breathe: Remain Calm

When faced with an emergency situation, your body automatically begins overproducing the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone hinders your pre-frontal cortex—the area of your brain responsible for critical thinking and complex action. As a result, you go into panic. In order to respond with necessary decisions and actions, you must override your body’s immediate chemical reaction.

After the initial scare, take a few seconds to breathe and consciously make an effort to collect yourself and remain calm. Block out the most frightening thoughts that can paralyze you with fear and start organizing your thoughts according to action steps. By temporarily isolating your emotions, you will be able to keep moving and make rational, rather than emotional, decisions.

Think: Do a Quick Emergency Assessment

Whether it’s a high fever, dangerous fall, heart attack or other major trauma, you need to know exactly what type of emergency it is. Study the situation from all angles. Determine possible causes and any dangers that may result in further injury. Not only does this allow you to make the most appropriate decisions for the specific type of emergency, but it also prepares you for questions asked by medical professionals once you reach Advance ER.

Call: 911 for an Ambulance or plan to go to Advance ER

In serious emergencies where time is critical—such as major trauma, car accident or a heart attack—calling 911 should be your first action. However, the most common emergency scenarios give you plenty of time to get to your preferred Advance ER. By keeping the phone numbers in your speed dial, you can be sure of having immediate access 24-hours a day to top quality medical services, including specialists such as cardiologists, pediatricians and pulmonologists.

Act: Do What You Can

Time to act. Each type of emergency requires a different type of care. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s the most serious aspect of the injury?
  • Is he breathing?
  • Does he have a pulse?
  • Is an artery bleeding or is the bleeding less severe?
  • Does the victim need first aid to save his life?
  • Do I need to call 911 for immediate assistance or is there an Advance ER—a 24-hour, No Wait emergency room—close by?
  • Do I need to move the victim to a different location out of harm’s way or will that put him at risk for further injury?

Remember to stay calm and breathe normally so that you are able to maintain your critical thinking ability.

If you have a first aid kit, it might come in handy. Kits may contain tools and supplies, such as bandages, gauze, disinfectant, adhesive tape and space blankets. Some of these things can help you care for the patient until you get to Advance ER. Avoid worrying about disinfecting or cleaning dirt from a wound. Slowing down heavy bleeding is more important. Another crucial consideration is CPR. When you can’t find a pulse at the neck near the Adam’s apple, administering CPR can be vital until professional help arrives.

A coat or blanket will help lessen symptoms of shock, which are often more disturbing to the patient than the injury itself. Talk calmly to the patient to reassure him. Do not give water or liquids to the patient unless it is a case of heat exhaustion or unless you are instructed to do so by a medical professional.

If possible, ask for help from those around you. Be specific of who you are talking to and what you want him or her to do.

Move: Go to the ER

Time to go. If an ambulance has been called, wait for professional help to move the patient. If you are taking him yourself, use the help you have around you to get him to the car. Keep pressure on a wound or continue CPR, if applicable.

You’re Not Alone

With two convenient locations, Advance ER is nearby when you need us. Staffed with board-certified physicians with an average of 15 years of emergency room experience, you’re sure to find the emergency medical help that you need. For all kinds of emergencies, Advance ER has the right care, at the right place, at the right time.