When an accident happens, how do you decide if it requires a trip to the emergency room? Find out.
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Accidents & Injuries | Get ER Ready

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The Accidental Saturday


I have SO earned this weekend. So glad it’s finally here. No stress, no rushing, just time with the family, enjoying each other. This is what life is all about. While my little five-year-old hockey star practices his moves outside on skates, this might be the perfect time to try one of those new recipes I’ve been saving for a special occasion.


Where’s that loud crying coming from?


Oh no.


My poor baby! This is bad. Even with the helmet and knee pads you still found a way to hurt yourself. This is really bad. That scrape looks painful. And that ankle does not look good either. Does anything hurt other than your leg and your ankle? Your arm too? Yeah, that’s also pretty scraped up. We probably need to get to a doctor.


Keys, keys, keys, where did I leave them? Come on, this doesn’t have to be hard. Where are they? Maybe upstairs?


Aha! Got em ... now just a quick sprint down the stairs ...


Yow! Oof! Unh! Ouch! Agghh!


Okay, good note for later: walk carefully down the stairs—especially in an emergency. Ow, my back. And my head. And my ribs. Oh well, to the car!


Okay, honey, let’s go. Seatbelt on. Good boy. We’ll get you taken care of quickly.


Here we are, honey. Don’t try to get out. I’ll come around, you can lean on me. Just a few steps and we’ll be in the ER.


Yes, this is my son, he ... yes ... right away? Into the exam room? Wow, okay, that is really helpful. Thank you. Didn’t expect that level of response in an ER.


Yes, doctor. He fell down skating I think. Uh, me? Oh, that’s nothing, I just fell down the stairs looking for the car keys. I know, comedy of errors. It happens, I’m fine. What? Well yes, I did hit my head, but I’m...oh I guess I am bleeding…


Well, so much for a carefree, drama-free Saturday. Let’s do the math, shall we? Between the two of us we have a broken ankle, a leg contusion, a variety of bumps and bruises, a sprained wrist and two stitches (thank goodness those were mine and not his). I think we’re going to spend the rest of the weekend taking it easy.

What Will the ER Team Want to Know About Your Accident?

If you are conscious when you get to the ER after an accident, the ER team will ask you questions as part of your exam to determine the extent of your injuries. Some of the questions might include:

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  • What happened?
  • Were you in a car accident? Were wearing a seatbelt? How fast was the car traveling?
  • Where do you have pain?
  • Did you hit your head?
  • Did you lose consciousness?
  • Any dizziness, nausea or vision problems?
  • Do you feel any pain when I touch here?
  • Are you on any medications?
  • Are you taking any aspirin products?
  • Have you been drinking or have you taken any drugs?
  • Any chance you are pregnant?
  • Have you had any recent surgery or other injuries?

ER Checklist: What to Bring

  • Insurance card and photo ID
  • List of current medications and dosages
  • List of allergies
  • Test results or information related to recent diagnosis or chronic condition
  • Phone number and correct spelling of your primary physician’s name
  • Phone number for your emergency contact
  • List of questions and pen/paper to write answers
  • Glasses and hearing aids
  • Healthcare paperwork (advance directive, healthcare proxy, DNR)
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Someone to help translate if you’re not fluent in English
  • Another adult to help or keep you company
  • For suspected poisoning: Bring the medication, household cleaner or other substance with you, including the container
  • For kids, you might also want to bring a comfort item, like a stuffed animal, and something to do (e.g., toy or coloring book)

Do not delay seeking medical attention to find these items.

Spread the Word: Daily Accident Dangers

What habits or activities are more likely to send you to the ER in a typical day? Surprise your Facebook or Twitter friends with these:

Accidents Account for 30 Percent of ER Visits Social Share Card
School Decreases ER Visits Among Kids Social Share Card
Falls Happen at Ground Level Social Share Card
When Most ER Trips Happen Social Share Card