What is a Medical Emergency?
When to Call 911?
The American College of Emergency Physicians’ guidelines state that you should call 911 if you answer “yes” to at least one of the following questions:
- Is the situation life-threatening?
- Could the situation worsen and become life-threatening during a drive to the ED?
- Do you need special equipment or skills to move the patient?
- Could traffic or distance cause a delay in getting to the ED, creating a life-threatening situation?
When You Need to go to the ER
If a medical condition arises suddenly and you believe that immediate medical care is needed, you should go to the Emergency Department. Examples include:
- Signs of heart attack (including but not limited to):
- chest pain
- pain traveling into the neck, into the jaw, through the back or down one or both arms
- sweating or
- difficulty breathing
- Signs of stroke: BEFAST!
- Severe shortness of breath
- Bleeding that will not stop after 10 minutes of continuous direct pressure
- Broken bones or suspected broken bones
- Major injuries such as a head injury
- Coughing up or vomiting blood
- Suicidal or homicidal feelings