How the ER Works

Your health and well-being are our top priorities, and we are committed to delivering excellence in emergency medicine.

If a patient comes to the Hunt Regional ER suffering from symptoms related to one of the following conditions, they may have the shortest emergency room wait time and be treated first:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Heart attack
  • Respiratory distress

The reason for the short wait time is because these conditions require immediate medical care. Without urgency, these conditions can be life-threatening and potentially fatal. Patients experiencing related symptoms will always be seen first, even if they arrive after a patient who is experiencing less severe symptoms.

If a patient enters the ER and shows signs pointing to one of these conditions, they will be seen after any patients suffering from the most critical conditions already mentioned above:

  • Altered mental status
  • Severe fractures
  • Shortness of breath

The reason these conditions fall under the second most urgent category is because related symptoms have the capacity to deteriorate and worsen quickly, leading to long-term health problems or injuries if not treated quickly. After all patients experiencing the most urgent symptoms have been seen, these patients are treated next.

Sometimes patients come to the ER with symptoms for non-life-threatening conditions and can therefore be classified as third most urgent. These conditions include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cuts requiring stitches
  • Ankle and arm fractures

Symptoms related to these conditions often do not worsen over a short period of time, so patients can be seen after all critical and acute patients have been examined.

If you are experiencing symptoms that may point to one of the below conditions, you may have the longest wait time, depending on how busy the ER is and how many other patients with more urgent conditions are there.

  • Second opinions
  • Generalized aches and pains
  • Fever that responds to over-the-counter medication
  • Dental pain
  • Earache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, sometimes these health issues can be treated by a primary care physician after scheduling a doctor’s appointment. If you do choose to visit the ER for one of these conditions, be aware that your wait time could be longer than expected if the ER is busy.

Sometimes life-threatening symptoms or conditions occur and you do not have time to drive to Hunt Regional’s ED. If this happens, call 9-1-1 immediately. The following conditions may require calling 9-1-1:

  • Heart attack
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Unconsciousness
  • Respiratory distress
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Severe bleeding
  • Eye injuries

Be mindful that if you call 9-1-1 for a medical emergency, an ambulance will take the patient to the nearest emergency department. However, there is a cost associated with the use of an ambulance, so only use this method in the case of a serious, life-threatening situation. Otherwise, travel to one of Hunt Regional’s emergency departments for critical care.

Learn more about Hunt Regional Healthcare’s Urgent Cares – a quicker, more affordable alternative to the emergency room for health conditions that are not life threatening. No appointment needed.

Visit Urgent Care