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Vacations are a time when we seem to over indulge on food, unusual activities and often in unfamiliar places. Unfortunately, when you combine these three conditions it puts a good number of people in the emergency room needing immediate medical attention.

Regrettably, what sometimes happens in the emergency room at a hospital or medical center in a resort area or other remote locale is often an understaffed facility with potentially less experienced physicians which can lead to inadequate care.

Please take note of these 5 important tips to assist you through your vacation if you end up in the emergency room:

1. It is imperative to make sure you’re seen by an attending emergency room doctor. This would be a doctor who has completed all of his postgraduate training, and is now working for the hospital, or medical center. What most people don’t know is that most emergency rooms are staffed by residents (doctors in training), and should be supervised by a senior physician. In the event that you are seen by a resident doctor, you should request to be personally evaluated by the attending physician.

2. Ask lots of questions such as: "What is the purpose of this medication?”, "Why do I need this test?”, "What will happen if I choose not to have the treatment?", “Are there any alternatives to treat me, other than what you are recommending?" Do not blindly accept what is given to you.

3. In the event that you have x-rays, an MRI scan or a CAT scan, then ask whether the attending radiologist has read the films. Don’t rely on the radiology resident in the emergency room to read the films. A good tip is to ask to have the emergency room doctor read the x-rays himself if the radiologist is not there.

4. When given medication, either by pill or intravenously, you have to ask if there’s a potential for an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions can kill you. So this is absolutely imperative.

5. Lastly, if you’re allergic to any form of medication, make sure that the ER staff makes note of this on your chart, and make sure you are given an ‘allergy bracelet’ so everyone knows this. Almost every hospital has allergy bracelets available, so demand that you get one so you don’t have to rely on a note in your charts to remind doctors or those responsible for your care.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the NE North Carolina (NC) border and handles car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. Our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY.


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