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St. James Hospital / Services & Specialties / Emergency Department

Emergency Department

Emergency DepartmentSt. James Hospital employs its own Physicians and Providers in the Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED). This specialized service is designed for patients with acute illness or injuries.

We understand that visiting an ED may not be a pleasant experience. We believe that we can make your experience a better one by explaining how the Emergency Department operates and what you can expect to happen while you are there.

Not sure what level of care you need? Please read the Appropriate Care Guide.

Triage

When you first come to the ED, you will receive a "triage" assessment. The purpose is to make an initial determination about the nature and the severity of your illness. This will also determine the order in which you will be seen. Please note that the order in which you are triaged may not be the order that you are seen.

Medical Screening Exam

As part of your care, you have the right to have, within our capabilities at St. James Hospital, an appropriate medical screening and exam by a qualified medical person.

If your exam determines that you are suffering from a medical emergency you will receive medical treatment from the St. James staff. After the patient has been stabilized and has been determined to need specialized treatment, we will arrange to have the patient transferred to another facility.

If St. James Hospital lacks the ability to stabilize the condition, we will arrange to have you transferred to another facility. You WILL receive these services even if you CANNOT pay.

Why are you Waiting?

Our goal is to see every patient as soon as possible. However, patients that need intensive care or are critically ill or injured will be treated first.

Other reasons for delays:

  • Lab, x-ray or other specialized testing results
  • Obtaining proper medical history and information
  • Contacting your family medical doctor
  • Awaiting admission or transfer

Please be assured that it is our goal to make your visit in the ED as speedy and comfortable as possible.

Leaving Prior to Exam

If you have been waiting a long time you may feel tempted to leave without a proper exam. You have the legal right to do so, however, we strongly discourage it. Leaving prior to an exam can be serious, perhaps even a life-threatening decision that should not be made out of frustration.

Things to consider:

  • Getting the exam may save your life and not getting it may endanger your life.
  • Getting a proper exam may prevent your condition from worsening.
  • Going to another facility will likely delay, not speed up, your exam and treatment. The wait at another facility may be as long, if not longer, and travel time could be detrimental. If you still feel that you want to leave, we ask that you notify the triage nurse or ED registrar.

Emergency Preparedness

No one can plan on when or where an emergency may arise. Here are some helpful tips to make your emergency less stressful:

  • Know your healthcare plan
  • Maintain good communication with your primary care provider
  • Carry all important medical information with you always. We recommend a list of medications, medical history and any allergies to medications.
  • Be sure to keep a list of emergency numbers by the telephone:
    • Ambulance
    • Fire
    • Police
    • Doctor
    • Poison Control

Remember the ED is always here if you need it, however, it should not take the place of seeing your regular primary care physician.

Billing

You will be billed separately by St. James Hospital for the physician services you receive and for your Emergency Department visit.

St. James Hospital does not discriminate based on ability to pay. Treatment will be provided to anyone seeking medical help regardless of race, religion or ability to pay. If you have any further questions, please call (607) 324-8030.