C. Scott Campbell
When a medical emergency occurs, it’s not always easy to think clearly. But a health crisis means you need to act quickly. Understanding your choices for care ahead of time will help you when an emergency does happen. As CEO of Physicians Regional Healthcare System-Collier Boulevard, I am well aware that confusion can exist regarding appropriate action in emergency situations.
When you need immediate medical help, you basically have three choices. You can call the 911 emergency number. You can go to a hospital emergency room. Or, you can call your doctor for advice.
When to call 911
The 911 emergency number is for true emergencies. An emergency threatens a person’s life, limbs, or sense organs. Examples are heart attacks, strokes, breathing problems, broken bones, head and neck injuries, cuts with severe bleeding, and eye injuries.
You should also call 911 when you are not physically able to drive the person to the hospital and the person has a condition that is growing worse.
Specific to Marco, Physicians Regional enjoys a very close working relationship with all of the emergency personnel that comprise Marco Fire Rescue.
When a Marco resident dials 911, an ambulance and/or fire truck with trained emergency medical service personnel is immediately dispatched to your location. As described by Mike Murphy, City of Marco Island Fire Rescue Chief, “When you call 911, our average response time on Marco Island is four to six minutes. Upon arrival, the emergency personnel will evaluate you or your loved one’s condition. From there they will help direct you or take you to the appropriate medical facility for treatment. In any case, it is better to err on the side of caution and allow these highly qualified individuals to advise you appropriately.”
When to go to the Hospital
All patients entering our Collier Boulevard Emergency Room are treated by doctors who are board certified and fellowship trained specifically in emergency medicine. The benefit to the patient is the knowledge that our ER physicians have the education and experience necessary to respond incisively in all emergency situations.
If you or someone else needs immediate attention and a primary care doctor isn’t readily available, then emergency care may be the best choice. Remember that emergency care is not first come, first served. Patients in the emergency room are treated according to the severity of their condition.
Dr. David Childress, Medical Director of the Emergency Center at Physicians Regional-Collier Boulevard and a Marco resident states, “The complaints we address in our emergency room run the whole gamut—everything from a runny nose to abdominal pain to heart attacks. For those who visit our ER, all medical illnesses will be treated with courteous, professional, and timely care.”
When to call your Doctor
If you think a person may need emergency treatment at a hospital, it’s helpful to first call your doctor for advice. Do this only if you have the time and your doctor, or an on-call physician, is immediately available. Within the Physicians Regional Healthcare System, all of our established patients have 24/7 telephone access to a primary-care physician.
In the words of Marco resident, Dr. Carlos Portu, “If there is an opportunity to call your doctor and discuss your situation, you should always try to do that. As a primary care doctor myself, I want to provide that level of care to my patients. However, no patient should ever hesitate to call 911 in a perceived emergency situation.”
As recently reported, our commitment to the health care needs of Marco is growing as we continue our plans to open a Walk-In Clinic on Marco. Our new clinic, slated to open in late 2012, will offer an excellent and convenient health care alternative when a true emergency is ruled out and you need quick access to a primary-care physician.
However, when in doubt, please call 911. The health and wellbeing of you, your friends, and your family is our number one priority.
C. Scott Campbell is CEO, Physicians Regional Healthcare System-Collier Boulevard. You may reach him by contacting Jan.Fernandez@hma.com