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60 Secrets the Emergency Room Staff Won’t Tell You

This astonishing insider information from doctors, nurses, and paramedics could save your life.

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We do it because we care

"We’re the only doctors who will take care of you first and ask questions about payment later, so we end up giving one-third of our care for freeand lose about $100,000 of income a year. Yet we still do it. This is the best specialty in the world.” —Ramon Johnson, MD. These are the 50 secrets that hospitals won't tell you (but every patient should know).

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Say "thank you"

"In the ER, nurses provide most of the hands-on care. So be nice." —Donna Mason, RN

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An ambulance isn't a fancy taxi

"When we arrive, don’t expect us to say hello. We’re focused on the patient. Once he’s stable, then we’ll introduce ourselves." —Don Lundy, paramedic, Charleston County, South Carolina

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Arriving by ambulance doesn't mean you'll get a red-carpet escort into the ER

"You’ll get triaged like everyone else, and if you’re not that sick or injured, you’re going to wait." —Connie Meyer, RN, paramedic. These are the 75 secrets nurses wish they could tell you.

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Yes, we know you're waiting... and waiting

"Waiting is good. It means you’re not going to die. The person you need to feel sorry for is the one who gets rushed into the ER and treated first." —Joan Somes, RN

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We need you to cooperate

"When we say, 'Put on this gown,' we mean you should take off the clothes underneath so we can see the area that we need to examine. I once had a woman put the gown on over her clothes and her coat." —Allen Roberts, MD, emergency physician, Fort Worth, Texas

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If we tell you to stay in bed, we mean it

"If we tell you to stay in bed, we mean it. Some medications make you uncoordinated, and we hate it when people fall down.” —Joan Somes, RN

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We don't believe you

"One of our favorite lines is 'You can’t fix stupidity.' If you complain of nausea and then eat a bag of chips, that’s what we’re thinking." —Joan Somes, RN. These are the 11 things your doctor can tell just by looking at you.

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We play favorites

"It makes me crazy when visitors wander around talking on their cell phones. You’re being annoying." —Joan Somes, RN

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We can only do so much

"Not all ERs are equally equipped to deal with children. Check with your pediatrician to see which ER he or she recommends." —Joan Shook, MD

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest