ThedaCare Health Matters

Emergency departments not for routine care

We are fortunate in this country to have access to health care in case of an emergency. We have emergency response teams trained to initiate treatment and transport patients. These services are provided to anyone who calls for help. In addition, there are Emergency Departments (ED) staffed 24 hours a day. However, there can be confusion about the proper use and misuse of these services.

Current federal law (re-ferred to as EMTALA) mandates that no one can be denied emergency care, however, people can interpret the definition of what an emergency is differently.

Emergency care generally is defined as medical or surgical care of an acute injury or illness that is potentially life threatening or that needs immediate attention. The decision to seek emergency care is generally made by the patient or a witness of a patient event.

So what sorts of problems are best treated in an ED? Obviously, any acute life-threatening event would be considered an emergency.

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