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What to Expect

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The emergency department is meant to provide treatment for sudden, extreme, or unstable illnesses or accidents. It cannot take the place of regular care from a family doctor or pain specialist. But it can help you get through those times when your pain breaks through or you have some other critical event.

When you need to go to the emergency department, you have a right to:

  • Be treated with respect;
  • Have your problem taken seriously;
  • Be seen as soon as possible, given the other cases also waiting for care (some may be more serious than they appear);
  • Receive appropriate care for your condition and treatment to reduce your immediate pain;
  • Be given a referral to a physician or clinic that can provide the long-term care you need.

In most EDs, there is a process for patient intake. The ED staff will take your basic information when you first enter.