There is a common misconception that emergency rooms are meant for people suffering from massive trauma and collisions. Following the scenes on movies and the pictures painted in horror shows and novels, people tend to think that hospital emergency rooms are filled with people bleeding from their heads with bullets lodged in their sides and so forth. This is a far cry from what it is that actually happens in hospital emergency rooms. Yes, emergency rooms admit critically injured patients who have been involved in accidents and other mishaps but most of the times, emergency room patients are suffering from minor ailments as we will see later on in the article. So, what really is a hospital emergency room? Who are the most common hospital emergency room users in America?
Hospital emergency rooms are special medical departments equipped with special machines and facilities to provide immediate and urgent treatment for acute illnesses and trauma related incidents like accidents. They are however capable of handling a number of medical complications from the most serious complications to the trivial ones. This is evident from the sort of traffic that emergency rooms handle every day in America. There is a wide range of conditions that arrive on a daily basis in emergency rooms in America. We have classified the types of people who use the emergency rooms into five categories to make you understand who it is that truly uses these emergency rooms. Here are the 5 categories of people that use hospital emergency rooms in America;
Patients with urgent conditions
A good number of people using hospital emergency rooms in America are people suffering from urgent medical conditions. These are conditions that are not necessarily life-threatening but can be fatal if they are left untreated. Conditions such as pneumonia, asthma attacks, severe abdominal pain, unconsciousness, broken bones, sports injuries and strokes. They are very serious illness which need urgent medical attention lest there will be consequences. They make up for a very large percentage of visits to the emergency rooms in the US. They make up for almost 30% of all reported cases to the emergency rooms. Such cases are normally of conditions that the doctors can put under control in a few minutes or hours. They still are a leading cause of deaths in the USA and their priority should be reconsidered especially for complications like pneumonia.
Patients with non-urgent conditions
This is category makes up the majority of the reported cases in emergency rooms in the US. They make up more than 40% of all the visits made to emergency rooms. These are people suffering from conditions which can otherwise be treated in normal hospital wings but because the patient are alarmed or don’t have access to a hospital, the ring 911 and are brought to emergency rooms. These are conditions such as chest pains, fever, flu, mild abdominal pains, toothaches, earaches and many other normal infections. They are diseases that spook very many people but in reality, they are not as serious as they deem them to be. Credit to the masses that flock the emergency rooms to report these cases because no condition is too small for reporting. Using triage, these people are third on the serving lists and spend the highest numbers of hours waiting in line according to a recent study.
Patients who come to consult
Yes! Believe it or not, there are people who come to emergency rooms to consult and seek clarifications about medical conditions they are uncertain of. They make up quite a significant of visitors to emergency rooms in America. People with no ailments at all but suspicions and doubts make up about 5%-10% of all people that visit emergency rooms.
Patients with trivial medical conditions
These are the patients who visit the emergency room for literally any form of pain or discomfort they feel in their body. This demographic consists mainly of young children and senior citizens in the community who cannot bear even the slightest of pains. These are people who come to the emergency rooms to report of trivial cases like sore thumbs, itchy skin or very minor cuts that will heal on their own. They are not as many and make up for about 10% of all emergency room visits.
Patients with life-threatening conditions
These are the patients in critical conditions. People who are normally given priority using triage in the emergency rooms. People with conditions which if left unattended to may end up claiming the lives of the patients. These are people suffering from trauma especially from car accidents, burns, falls, heart attacks and overdoses. These are the only people that most people believe should be truly be entitled to use the emergency rooms. They however account for a little over 20% of all reported cases in emergency rooms per year.
There you have it. Now you know the people that use emergency rooms in America. The emergency rooms are not meant for any specific demographic. They help save lives and also treat people with less serious illnesses. The next time you find your doctor’s office closed and are in need of medical help, don’t shy away from calling an emergency room to receive treatment.