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Emergency Care

24-Hour Care for Serious Illnesses and Injuries

Our Emergency Department provides 24-hour physician coverage with access to emergency helicopter transportation. We treat approximately 35,000 patients each year. Our hospital includes an accredited Level IV Area Trauma Care Facility and an Air Evac Lifeteam Base (air ambulance services) located in the Parking Lot for advanced emergency health care and rapid medical transport. We also offer a private consultation room for families dealing with grief over a loved one in trauma or in a life-threatening situation. There is a holding room for those patients who require extended observation with all the comforts of a normal patient room.

Our Staff

Our highly qualified staff is on duty 24/7, and includes:

  • Board-certified emergency physicians
  • Trauma-certified emergency nurses who also are trained in advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support
  • Specially trained emergency department physician assistants
  • Emergency department technicians and paramedics
  • Registration and clerical staff

Understanding Triage

You will be greeted by a triage specialist who is a nurse trained to determine the seriousness of your injury or illness. They will create a treatment priority list by comparing the conditions of all patients in the waiting area and ensures that patients who have life- or limb-threatening conditions receive emergency care first.

How long does it take?

Unlike scheduled physician appointments, Emergency Department visits are not planned, so your waiting time may be longer than anticipated. The time you spend in the Emergency Department depends on the severity of your illness or injury, and how busy the department is.

If the emergency medicine provider decides that you should be admitted to the hospital, please plan to be in the Emergency Department for at least 3 hours before being transferred to an inpatient unit. If you are treated for a less serious illness or injury, you can expect your visit to last less than two hours.

Going Home from the ER

If you are not admitted, your health care provider will give you home-care instructions. We want you to have all the information you need about your illness or injury, so please ask questions before you leave. If you think your illness or injury is not improving within 24 hours, or if you feel worse, please return to the Emergency Department, or call your primary-care provider or the specialist to whom you have been referred.

Should I Go to the ER or Call an Ambulance?

Ask yourself the following questions, and if the answer is “yes” or you’re unsure, call 911:

  • Is the condition life-threatening?
  • Is it a possible heart attack?
  • Are they experiencing symptoms of a stroke?
  • Could the condition worsen and become life-threatening on the way to the hospital?
  • Could moving cause further injury?
  • Does the person need the skills/equipment of paramedics or emergency medical technicians?
  • Could distance or weather conditions cause a delay in getting to the hospital?

Even if you think you can get to the hospital faster by driving, paramedics can bring many of the lifesaving skills and medications right to you and start care sooner. Emergency crews are trained to begin medical treatment on the way to the hospital, and they can also alert the Emergency Department in advance to the patient’s condition.

Should I Go to the ER or an Urgent Care?

Not all illnesses or injuries are life-threatening and are better suited to be treated at an urgent care or a primary care clinic. Urgent care provides treatment when you are sick with sudden illnesses like the flu, sore throat, earache, mononucleosis, minor cuts, suspected fractures, and many other non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries. The urgent care clinic at Great River Health is a walk-in clinic for patients over the age of 18 months who don’t have a primary care provider or need extended office hours. We can help patients get follow-up care at a primary care clinic.

If you have any questions or concerns about any aspects of your care, please call the Emergency Department director at 319-768-4743.

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