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A medical emergency can be the most frightening crisis a person ever faces — but in the 9-county area served by Satilla Regional Medical Center, you don’t have to face that crisis alone. The Emergency Department is ready to assist with state-of-the-art emergency medical care, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Satilla Regional Medical Center treats about 34,000 patients a year in the Emergency Department for problems ranging from life-threatening heart attacks to broken bones. An experienced emergency physician, a fully trained support staff, a modern and sophisticated medical lab, imaging technology — all are standing by.

The Emergency Department - Why Are We Here?

The Emergency Department is a JCAHO Level II emergency center. That means that the largest and oldest healthcare accrediting organization in the world, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, has found us qualified to handle all but the most extreme trauma situations. Those cases, such as extensive burns or multiple crushing traumas, are stabilized here and transferred to major urban centers for more highly specialized treatment. As our name says, we treat people who have medical emergencies. The treatment of routine illnesses and the diagnosis of problems behind troubling – but non-critical – symptoms are best left to your personal doctor.

What to Expect When you Come to the Emergency Department

A Word about Waiting
Triage is the first service you will receive as an emergency patient. A nurse will do an initial exam that includes taking your blood pressure, temperature and pulse. These simple steps tell us a lot about your medical condition. More important, they help us identify patients who need to see a doctor right away and those whose condition is not as urgent. We realize that your time is important and that waiting can be frustrating when you are uncomfortable or frightened. But patients with more serious problems must be seen first.

Who Will See You
The Emergency Department has physicians, physician assistants (PAs), and family nurse practitioners (FNPs) on staff. Often, patients with less severe problems are seen by a PA or FNP. If you would rather be seen by a physician, let your nurse know and we will accommodate you, although this may increase your waiting time.

What Special Resources Are Available?
The Emergency Department has 21 patient exam rooms that have immediate access to operating rooms, the medical laboratory, and the Imaging Department. We have cardiac monitoring equipment that is capable of monitoring as many as 14 cardiac patients simultaneously. There is a four-bed "fast track," where a physician assistant or family nurse practitioner treats less serious medical problems.

When you are a patient or are accompanying a patient, we encourage you to leave children with a responsible adult rather than bring them to the Emergency Department. Waiting in a small, busy area can be a challenge, even for the best-behaved children. Both parents may accompany their child 12 or under into the treatment area, but older patients can only be accompanied by one family member. A patient representative is on duty daily during peak hours to keep families and patients informed of the status of treatment.

Tests Used Frequently in the Emergency Department

Physicians order a wide range of tests to help diagnose a medical problem and guide their treatment decisions. Lab tests can take up to an hour, while the taking and reading of an X-ray or series of X-rays can take an hour or more.

Some of the most commonly ordered tests include:

CBC and The Protime – The most common hematology test is the CBC - complete blood count. It examines the red and white blood cells to check for anemia and/or infection. If you are taking blood thinners, your doctor may order a Protime test to make sure you are taking the proper dose.

Chemistry Profile – This comprehensive test produces results detailing everything from sugar levels to electrolytes and enzymes pertaining to each of the major organ systems. Heart attack, diabetes, dehydration and kidney problems are among the medical situations which can be spotted through these results.

UA – A urine sample is tested for kidney infections and/or kidney stones.

Arterial Blood Gas (ABG) – This test on blood taken from an artery (usually one in the wrist) measures oxygen and carbon dioxide levels and acid or pH content, presenting physicians with information useful in diagnosing heart problems, drug reactions or overdoses, or diabetic problems. Results can be ready in 15 minutes.

EKG – This is a painless routine procedure that measures electrical activity of the heart. A physician usually orders this test when a heart attack or other heart problem is suspected or needs to be ruled out.

Imaging – X-rays, CAT scans and ultrasounds give physicians a "picture" of the state of the inside of the body. Using these images, physicians can distinguish broken bones from sprains, identify brain injuries, or view an unborn baby. Diagnostic imaging may require a longer wait time than other tests. X-rays are usually taken within 45 minutes of a doctor’s order. If additional X-rays or multiple views are ordered, more time may be required.

Other Tests – Blood tests to screen specifically for blood alcohol levels or pregnancy status can also be performed by the Emergency Department.

Paying for Your Emergency Department Visit

Satilla Regional Medical Center provides Patient Financial Advisors to help you arrange payment for your services. Our patients participate in a wide range of payment plans, including health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and self-pay. Whichever of these situations applies to your case, the advisor will let you know what is required now, as well as the various options for paying any outstanding balance. You may contact the Emergency Department Financial Advisor by calling (912) 338-6336.