Emergency Department Open to All Kinds of Symptoms
By Andy Russell, M.D. Emergency Department Medical Director
One of the main things I love about working in the Emergency Department at Williamson Medical Center is the variety and unpredictability of cases we are able to treat on a daily basis.
Before I entered medical school, there was a pivotal event that helped me to know the ED was where I wanted to spend my career in medicine. I was on a flight and another passenger began having chest pain. The flight attendant asked if there was a physician on board. The man sitting next to me said he was a dermatologist, but he didn’t feel comfortable treating someone with chest pain. That is when I knew that I wanted to be able to help people with many different kinds of problems.
I love the variety of patients that come to the ED, and I enjoy constantly learning about all of the medical specialties.
The ED at Williamson Medical Center is here for every kind of medical problem, and we welcome any and all patients. I think people might be surprised to know that we are equipped to treat everything from a runny nose to life-threatening trauma in the ED at Williamson Medical Center. About 20 percent of our patients are pediatric patients, and WMC is in the process of building a new ED specifically designed for pediatric care. Occasionally, we do have to treat and stabilize some patients before transferring them to another hospital.
If you ever have a medical situation in your family and aren’t sure what to do or where to go, you should never hesitate to come to the ED. I’m often asked if the ED sees many non-emergent patients and we do because in some cases we may be a person’s only source for medical care.
I am also asked when someone should come to the ED, especially if there isn’t a life-threatening emergency. For some symptoms, going to the ED is an easy choice. Unfortunately, there is no standard definition of what constitutes a true emergency. Everyone has their own idea of what a medical emergency really is. It is always a good idea to contact your primary care physician first, as they may have some helpful advice that could help you avoid a visit to the ED. The physicians in the ED would rather see you sooner than later, before you are critically ill.
If you have chest pain, severe headache, weakness or numbness, or persistent vomiting, you should call 911 or come to the ED. If you only have cold symptoms or a sore throat, a walk in clinic or doctor’s office can usually treat you. If you are unsure if you need an Emergency Department or a walk-in clinic, I urge you to err on the side of caution. The ED at Williamson Medical Center will be able to care for a wider range of problems, from the true life-threatening emergency to the less urgent, but still very troubling problems.
One comment that I often hear from patients pertains to the compassion shown by our ED staff. The community isn’t always aware of the extremely high level of care provided not only in the ED, but also by the entire medical staff at WMC. All of the physicians in the ED are board certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine, receiving specialized training in the care of a broad spectrum of acutely ill patients. With the broad scope of the medical staff at WMC, most ED patients that need to be admitted to the hospital will be cared for at WMC, without having to be transferred to another hospital.
With the state-of-the-art services delivered at WMC, from the Emergency Department to surgeons performing robotic assisted procedures to the 24/7 heart catheterization lab capabilities to the private areas of the Labor and Delivery unit, Williamson Medical Center will continue to provide excellent care for Williamson County and surrounding communities.
Andy Russell, M.D. is the Medical Director for the Emergency Department at Williamson Medical Center.
Posted on: 4/4/2013