Services We Offer
Using Emergency Services
Shore Health System's Emergency Services consist of the Emergency Departments at Memorial Hospital, Dorchester General and Queen Anne's Emergency Center. Each center is open 24 hours-a-day. Express Care at Memorial Hospital is open 11am - 9pm, 7 days a week.
The Emergency Department is equipped specially to handle nearly any emergency situation with specially trained doctors, nurses and technicians.
It is important for you to know how the Emergency Department works so you can know what to expect with as little anxiety as possible.
Why do we need an Emergency Department?
The Emergency Department helps people with a variety of problems, including injuries due to accidents or wounds.
If people who suffer from major trauma do not receive special medical help right away, their lives could be in jeopardy.
Some examples of major injury or illness include:
- breathing problems
- heart problems
- infant illness
- poisoning or drug overdose
- severe burns
Examples of other illness or injury that may need treatment in the Emergency Department include:
- cuts, punctures, bites
- child, spouse or elder abuse
- mental health problems, such as hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren't there), threat or suicide attempt
- rape or other injuries from violent crimes
What is "Triage"?
Triage is the first step when you enter the Emergency Department. Triage is a process that makes sure that patients with the most serious needs are treated first. The Emergency Department cannot treat patients on a first-come, first served basis. Triage classifies patients according to need:
- Emergent - those who have a life-threatening illness or injury
- Urgent - those who are in stable condition, but need help as soon as possible
- Non-urgent - those who have minor problems or chronic complaints
The Triage Nurse
When you enter the Emergency Department a "Triage Nurse" will find out about your reason to see a doctor. The nurse will:
- ask about your symptoms
- take your blood pressure, temperature and pulse
- take a short medical history of your illness
What happens after Triage?
You will be examined by an Emergency Medicine doctor unless your doctor has made specific arrangements to see you in the Emergency Department. Depending on your symptoms you may be:
- sent to registration
- be treated immediately
- asked to wait in our lobby until you are registered
- sent to Memorial ExpressCare
You will receive at least two bills, and possibly more, depending on what is done while you are a patient in the Emergency Department. The hospital's Emergency Department bill is separate from the doctor's bill. If you have an x-ray, the bill from the radiologist is separate from any other bills. It is possible that you will receive several bills over time, depending upon your insurance coverage. Remember: you will not be denied an examination in the Emergency Department because you cannot pay.
Waiting in our lobby
Unless your situation is critical, you may have to wait. Some of the reasons for your wait include:
- other patients require immediate treatment
- beds or treatment rooms need to be prepared
- ambulances bring in more critical patients
The Triage Nurse and/or Volunteer Staff are there to help you. If your condition changes be sure to tell the nurse. Your patience helps. Staff are doing their best to serve you quickly!
Treatment Depends on Situation
You may be sent to ExpressCare for care of certain illnesses or injuries, between the hours of 11am and 9pm, 7 days a week. PLEASE NOTE: Depending upon the number of patients being seen, patients arriving after 8:00 pm may sometimes be treated in the Emergency Department. Also, if lab work or treatments are necessary you will be seen in the Emergency Department. The Triage Nurse is trained in deciding what area of care you require.
Wherever you are seen, there may be a wait. Please remember, treatments and test results take time. After treatment you may be:
- asked to take additional tests and then return for further treatment
- admitted to the hospital
- discharged with written instructions
For Family and Friends
If you brought a loved one to the Emergency Department, you may be separated from the patient. This may happen if:
- he or she urgently needs treatment
- tests are necessary
- other patients arrive who are seriously ill or injured (all visitors may be asked to leave the area)
Emergency Department staff will keep you informed, but please feel free to ask any questions.
Registration is important
Our Patient Registration Specialist may ask about your medical history and billing information such as:
- your address and phone number
- what type of health insurance you have
If possible, bring insurance information with you when you visit the Emergency Department.
You may not feel like answering questions, but the information you provide helps the Emergency personnel give you the best care possible.