50 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

Say "thank you"


"In the ER, nurses provide most of the hands-on care. So be nice." —Donna Mason, RN (These are 50 secrets nurses wish they could tell you.)

An ambulance isn't a fancy taxi

iStock/AydAn Mutlu

"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 (Doctors confess: Here are the 11 most annoying things patients do).

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

iStock/January Smith

"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 (Here are tips from doctors and nurses for a better, safer hospital stay.)

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

iStock/Steve Debenport

"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."

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

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

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

We play favorites


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

We can only do so much

iStock/Steve Debenport

"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 (Here are 13 secrets your pediatrician wishes you knew.)

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