Emergency room sign

What you need for those ER visits

From Dr. Kildare to Grey’s Anatomy, medical dramas have long been popular on TV. Our own personal medical dramas, however, are not that entertaining. They are urgent, sometimes painful, and often tinged with panic. No one can ever truly plan for an emergency, but Dr. Ross Tobleman, an ER doctor at Baylor Scott & White in Round Rock, offers these tips to take some of the stress out of your next emergency room visit.

The Obvious:   You may be in a hurry, but don’t forget to take your driver’s license or state identification card and your insurance card to the ER. Keep these in your wallet, and as you’re going out the door, grab your wallet along with your car keys.

The Not-So-Obvious:   For children, remember immunization records, the name and phone number of their pediatrician, and a comfort item like their favorite stuffed toy or snuggly blanket. If your children are over the age of 18, you probably won’t need the aforementioned, but you will need them to bring their ID. They may still be your babies, but they are legally adults. 

That’s Not All:   Bring your medical history and lists of medications. Keep this information in Word or Excel documents, especially if it’s extensive. “It’s always good to have an up-to-date list of your past medical history, any surgeries you’ve had, and also an accurate, up-to-date list of medications,” Dr. Tobleman says. “Not just the medications that you take but the dosages and frequencies of those medications . . . sometimes that’s the most important [information] you can bring to the ER because it tells us what medical problems you have.”

Hurry Up and Wait:   Be patient. The average ER stay is around two hours, regardless of the illness or injury that brings you there. “When people come into the ER, they think that everything happens instantaneously,” Dr. Tobleman says, “but really the ER is like the military where you hurry up and wait. You hurry up and see a doctor or nurse and then you wait until all the tests get brought back. It’s important for people to realize even though it doesn’t seem like anything’s happening, things are happening behind the scenes.”

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