Jackson Hospital's emergency department (ED) is staffed with specially trained physicians and personnel who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In life-threatening situations, an ED is the place to go. However, keep in mind that EDs are not set up to care for routine illnesses, and they do not work on a 1st-come, 1st-served basis. At Jackson Hospital, we make every effort to see patients as they check into the ED; however, priority must be given to the most seriously ill or injured.
When Should You Visit the ED?
Everyone gets sick once in a while. Some illnesses can be taken care of with over-the-counter medications and a little rest. Others require a visit to the doctor or prescription medications. But there are some illnesses that can't wait for a doctor's appointment. They require immediate attention—a trip to the ED. These simple tips will help you learn whether the ED is the place to go the next time you get sick.*
These Symptoms Warrant an Immediate Trip to the ED by Ambulance:
- Chest pain.
- Pain in the left arm, neck and jaw.
- Shortness of breath.
- Sudden onset headache that can be described as "the worst headache of your life."
- Weakness on one side of your body or face; weakness in one arm or leg.
- Slurred speech.
- Bleeding from a cut that will not stop with applied pressure.
- Vomiting blood or bright red blood in your bowel movements.
These Symptoms Require a Call to Your Doctor. However, if No Appointments are Available Within 1 Day, a Trip to the ED is Recommended:
- Fever of greater than 101.5 degrees.
- Abdominal pain with vomiting and diarrhea, with or without fever.
- Skin rash, especially after starting a new medication.
- Gradual onset headache, with or without neck stiffness and fever.
- Cough producing mucus that is clear or colored, with or without fever.
These Symptoms Justify a Call to Your Doctor:
- Body aches, joint or muscle pain.
- Flu-like symptoms that persist or get worse over 2 to 3 days.
- Any known medication side effect (e.g. nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, mild rash, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes).
- Any other sign or symptom that is not typical for you.
*Keep in mind that these are only guidelines. When in doubt, never hesitate to call your doctor, go to the ED or call an ambulance. It's always better to be safe than sorry.