questionswhen is an injury serious enough that you will go…

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While everyone's definition of "emergency" will vary, there are certain things that should be attended to immediately in an ER and not an urgent care center, such as impactful head wounds, uncontrollable bleeding and severe pain associated with movement.

It's a paradox that the people who think the can put up with severe pain are the ones who will tend to put off treatment. If you think about it, if you can somehow register less pain than others, then the injury may actually be more severe and you don't know it.

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it must be serious enough to merit the money i am going to have to spend on the bill.

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It's a double-standard:
For myself, when there is serious blood (that a Band-Aid can't handle), or broken bones, or major, major, major, illness involved. Otherwise, it's my doctor or the Doc-in-the-Box.

For my kids, whenever I have to ask myself if they should go, they usually need to go.

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I've been to the ER 4 times in my life - a rare childhood illness, terrible pneumonia (sent by my primary care dr), broken arm and a migraine. The migraine was a mistake as the ER did nothing to help me...I assumed they could because I'd heard of people going there to get help. They had no idea what I was talking about when I asked for my normal pain medicine. I reserve ER trips for life threatening injuries or major broken bones at this point.

On the other hand - one of my in-laws goes to the ER probably 2-3 times a week for either herself or an immediately family member. A couple of coughs and away they go. It is unbelievable...especially for a nurse.

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For injury, it depends on which body part is injured, mechanism of injury, potential for internal bleeding, medical resources available on-site, medical resources available within 24 hours, and whether the medical resources available at the ER are appropriate for the suspected injury or if they will simply refer out to an orthopedic specialist. FWIW, dental injuries generally can't be treated in the ER, but most dental practices have someone on-call 24 hours, which I didn't know until recently.

[Reminder: chest pain, difficulty breathing, and any single-sided weakness/impairment or slurred speech from difficulty moving the tongue/both sides of the mouth should be evaluated ASAP; I lost a family member as a result of heart damage incurred while spending 24 hours deciding whether the chest pain was sufficient to seek medical care, so I care about this. Time is heart muscle and time is brain function. And oxygen is just plain important. :)]

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When I cut my finger with a vegetable peeler, I thought it might be necessary. But I put on some good pressure and sealed it off with super glue - same stuff the doctors use, just a different brand name. I got to keep a good deal of skin that had completely detached on 3 sides.

Just FYI, don't peel toward you. Always peel away from yourself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanoacrylate

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@omnichad: On that subject, do NOT put a bandaid over a wound after applying cyanoacrylate until you're sure it's dry (from the wiki article):

Applying cyanoacrylate to materials made of cotton or wool (such as cotton swabs, cotton balls, and certain yarns or fabrics) results in a powerful, rapid exothermic reaction. The heat released may cause serious burns,[17] ignite the cotton product, or release irritating white smoke. Material Safety Data Sheets for cyanoacrylate instruct users not to wear cotton or wool clothing, especially cotton gloves, when applying or handling cyanoacrylates.[18]

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@omnichad: wait wait wait. superglue + cotton = fire? i must try this macgyver combination when i get home.

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Last time I took the wife to urgent care (she was really sick on a Sat morning), they sent us straight to the ER because "we can't do that test here".

And with my insurance, it costs LESS to go to the emergency room than to go to urgent care.

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I had a crushing injury to my finger, I went to the ER. It took 7 stitches and it broke the end of my finger.
I was involved in an explosion from some vapors, I went to the ER, spent an overnight for observation.
A tiny piece of a punch broke off and lodged in my opposite hand I was hammering with. Blood was spurting out with each heartbeat, I went to the ER. They excavated and removed the metal.
I went to an optometrist for an exam, he says I see you had an object removed from your eye. I told him about 2 years prior, yes. He says he could have done a better job. It was at the ER.
I played ice hockey in high school and caught a slap shot rebound off the goalie net post at the edge of my eye, they sent me to the ER, couple stitches.
There's a few more stories but I'll stop there.

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When duct tape is not enough to fix it..............

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Nearing 50, and I've been once. The circumstances are long, but in an alcohol-fueled rage I punched out a truck window and had to have chunks of safety glass removed from my arm. That was in 1985, and I found that a serious reason to go. I would consider serious bleeding or anything involving the cardiopulmonary system a major reason to go.

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Once for asthma and once for racing heart (panic/stress attack). Other than that, we're very lucky to have a good doc-in-the-box here. It's had the same set of doctors since we started going there almost 8 years ago.

So for me, it's something that I can't wait for the doc-in-the-box. Even with the heart one, I went to them first and they couldn't eliminate heart attack so they sent me on to the ER.

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Over the last 40+ years I've been in the ER for a pair of badly sprained ankles, a broken ankle, a broken leg, a major case of flu, a significant liver infection, and a truly miserable, painful ear infection.

We're very fortunate to be eligible for health care at a local military base. They don't have an urgent-care unit, but we've always been in and out of the ER in under two hours.

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unconscious (out cold), broken, dislocated (if its the first time), deep wound (bleeding profusely), other than that your good with some ice

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I've been to the ER twice. Once for a 180lb dog bite that broke a finger, severed nerves and made a scary looking mess of my hand. I drove myself in, went up to the window, the nurse said "How can I help you?" and I stuck my gory hand in the window. She came running out with a doctor and I was in the back instantly, no waiting, no paperwork. The time before involved a ride in an ambulance that I don't remember, as I was having a grand mal seizure at the time. I missed most of the hospital stay, being in a coma for a week and then partially paralyzed for a few days. Freakin' scary at 16 to wake up in the hospital paralyzed. I was ambidextrous before that but my left hand never quite regained its wits.

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I live in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. We have our regular doctors and we have the ER. Anytime I have an illness or injury that can't wait the 2 weeks an appointment usually takes, I go to the ER, because good luck seeing my regular doc as a walk-in. That place stays packed.

Generally I dislike going to the doctor unless things are grim indeed. A month or so ago I got a nasty gash on my finger from a broken Pyrex dish. I couldn't get the bleeding under control so I went to the ER for stitches. But I've also had to go in the past because I was feeling sick and needed a prescription asap, and I would only be able to make an appointment for my regular doctor. Heck, even the regular doctors tell you to go to the ER if you want to see someone that day.