What Happens When I Go to the Emergency Department?

When you arrive at the Emergency Department, you will be greeted by someone from our ED staff who will ask you the following questions: 

  1. Your name
  2. Your date of birth
  3.  What brought you to the emergency department. 

After these quick questions, you will be taken to a treatment room or patient care area where you will be triaged by a nurse.  Garnet Health Medical Center clinicians use Electronic Health Records to create a digital chart for each patient via Workstations on Wheels (WOWs).  These charts are accessible throughout the hospital and in physician offices, which provides enhanced patient safety and improved coordination of care.

What is the triage process?

Triage is the process of determining the priority of a patient's treatment based on the severity of their condition.  It is the first stage when a patient passes through the ED.  A triage nurse will take your vitals and conduct a preliminary assessment to evaluate your condition.  The wait time is then determined by the patient's clinical needs. 

Will there be a long wait?

Every patient is important to us, but please understand conditions that threaten life and limb are considered immediate medical emergencies and must be treated first. You will be treated as soon as possible according to the severity of your condition. Such emergencies may include, but are not limited to:

  • Chest pain
  • Major trauma
  • Extreme bleeding
  • Unconsciousness
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Open fractures that expose the bone
  • Head injury or broken bone
  • Seizure or loss of consciousness
  • Major burns
  • Emergencies for children

The Registered Nurse at triage will make an initial evaluation to determine the severity of your illness or injury. After the practitioner (Medical Doctor, Physician's Assistant or Nurse Practitioner) has seen you, more time may be needed to fully evaluate your condition. Laboratory, x-ray or other diagnostic procedures will take additional time for full analysis. In some cases, it may be necessary to locate your primary care physician or consult with a specialist. This may also lengthen your stay.

Who is part of the emergency care team?

Garnet Health Medical Center's Emergency Department provides our patients with quality care administered by:

Emergency Department Physician
A physician trained and specializing in Emergency Medicine is present 24 hours a day to examine you, order tests and/or medications, diagnose your condition, speak with your personal physician (or recommend a physician if you are not currently under a physician's care), and determine your discharge needs.

Emergency Physician Assistant (PA) / Nurse Practitioner (NP)
PAs or NPs are credentialed to administer "Minor Emergency Care" for those who present less acute symptoms. They may examine you, order tests and/or medications, diagnose your condition, speak with your personal physician (or recommend a physician if you are not currently under a physician's care), and determine your discharge needs.

Emergency Department Nurse
All of the nurses are professional Registered Nurses. All RNs working in the Emergency Department are required to have advanced cardiac life support, advanced life support for children and trauma nursing care certification, and most have also been certified in Emergency Nursing, Trauma Care and Advanced Pediatric Life Support. They will assess your needs, administer medications, treatment and coordinate your care.

Emergency Department Tech
Our ED Technicians, under the supervision of a physician or Registered Nurse, assist in caring for your needs and personal comfort. They provide direct patient care by conducting EKGs, assisting with lab procedures and transporting patients.

Patient Liaison
Our patient liaisons, some of whom are bilingual (Spanish/English), help keep visitors in the waiting area up-to-date with information about their loved ones and regulate the flow of visitors in and out of the department.

Nursing Unit Clerk
Our unit clerk helps to process the clinical orders your physician requests, maintains your patient record and coordinates communication within the Emergency Department and other departments in the hospital.

What happens when i am discharged or admitted?

When you are ready to return home, you will be given written instructions that will include:

  • Your medical diagnosis and any signs or symptoms to watch out for when you get home
  • Complete explanation of any medications that have been prescribed
  • Information regarding any medication side effects
  • Suggested follow-up care or physician referral
  • Signs and symptoms of when to return to the Emergency Department or seek attention from your primary care physician

It is important that you follow these instructions when released from the hospital. If you have any questions or concerns about these instructions, please ask any member of the care team before you leave the hospital. We want to make sure that you understand and are comfortable with your instructions before you go home. If you need help or have more questions after you leave the Emergency Department, please call our Emergency Department:

If you are admitted to the hospital, the ED physician will speak with an inpatient physician, who will assume responsibility for your care. Depending on the practice of your primary care physician, you may be cared for by a hospitalist once admitted. The admitting department will assign you a room in the hospital. Once your room is ready, a transporter and sometimes a nurse will accompany you to your room.

How will I be billed?

You may receive two (2) or more bills for your emergency care:

  • Emergency Department bill
  • Emergency Department physician bill
  • You may also receive bills for radiology and cardiology services if an X-ray or EKG was performed. 

Billing & Insurance

At Garnet Health, we offer the following options for paying for your medical services, including: Cash, Check/Money Order, Debit Cards, and Credit cards: Visa, Master Card, American Express and Discover. Payment arrangements or assistance can be made through our Financial Assistance Program.

Learn more

Emergency Services

We offer a wide range of emergency services to you and your loved ones. Visit a Garnet Health emergency department if you are experiencing severe or life-threatening conditions or medical needs.

Learn more