Emergency Medicine

emergency doctor talking to patientOur Emergency Department is equipped to handle the most serious situations life has to offer and treats close to 50,000 visits annually. Staffed by physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses who are career emergency professionals and/or have been extensively trained in treating emergencies, the Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day.

Emergency Care

Below is a quick guide of "emergency" problems, for which a visit to the ER is recommended:

  • Chest pain, especially if it is associated with sweating, shortness of breath, or radiation to the jaw or arm
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Allergic reactions that threaten breathing
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy
  • Burns involving large areas of the body
  • Sudden onset or severe headaches
  • Head trauma while on blood thinners
  • Head or eye injury
  • Deep wounds
  • Dislocated joints
  • Major extremity injury with deformity
  • Severe palpitations
  • Severe abdominal or back pain
  • Sudden testicular or pelvic pain
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Fainting/loss of consciousness episode
  • Seizure without prior history of epilepsy
  • Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding speech, weakness of an arm or leg, or sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Baby ≤ 3 months old with fever ≥ 100.4

Do Not Delay Emergency Care

Our hospital and staff are prepared to care for any emergency medical need that you have, even in the midst of a pandemic. Accidents, falls, strokes, and heart attacks won't wait for a cure for COVID-19, and you shouldn't hesitate to visit us to receive high quality medical care. The nurses and physicians in our Emergency Department are prepared to safely treat your medical emergency.


If you believe you may have been exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever (above 100.4 degrees, cough, or shortness of breath), please call your physician's office to discuss your care. We ask that you do not come to the Emergency Department or any of our urgent care facilities without prior communication with your doctor. If you feel you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 or proceed to the emergency department.

Your Visit

Whether you or your loved one is ill and needs to visit our Emergency Department, it can be helpful to understand the process you will go through after you arrive. When you are sick or injured, no illness is more important than your own. We understand that, which is why we strive to see every patient in as timely a manner as possible. It's important for you to know, however, that patients with the most critical or life threatening illnesses will need to be seen immediately, while others are cared for based on the severity of their illness.


Upon arrival, your treatment begins with a specially trained registered nurse who will begin the evaluation of your medical condition by:

  • Asking you to describe the reason for your visit and your current symptoms
  • Asking you about your past medical history
  • Taking your vital signs (pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate, temperature, oxygen level)
  • Measuring your height and weight, which is needed to facilitate care
  • Beginning treatments and diagnostic testing (i.e. urine test, x-rays), if needed

Based on this initial evaluation, the triage nurse will determine whether you will be seen in the main part of our emergency department or in quick care (see additional quick care information below). If a room is immediately available, you will be brought back to the room right away to continue your evaluation and treatment. In other cases, you may be asked to have a seat in our waiting area until a room becomes available. We will make every effort to minimize your time in the waiting area.

Every patient is important to us. However, some patients have serious medical conditions that require immediate attention. These patients may need to be seen before others with less immediate needs. We appreciate your patience and understanding during these times.

In The Exam Room

Once you have been taken to an examination room, you will be seen by the primary nurse and medical practitioner who will be caring for you. A patient care assistant (PCA) will also be available to assist with your care. In order to continue your evaluation and treatment, the medical team will obtain further, more detailed information regarding the reason for your visit.

You will be asked to undress and put on a medical examination gown so that your practitioner can conduct a proper physical exam. Your privacy will be maintained at all times during this process. Tests, including blood tests and imaging studies (i.e. x-ray, CT scan, and ultrasound), may be ordered to help diagnose your condition. Medications may be provided to treat and help resolve your symptoms.

Once your evaluation has been completed, your practitioner will determine whether you can safely be discharged home or if you need to be admitted to the hospital for further management. If you're discharged home, you will be provided with home care instructions that explain your diagnosis, how to manage your medical condition at home, information on any prescriptions you may have received, and information on your follow-up care with either a specialist or your primary care doctor.

Wait Times

Wait times can vary depending on the situation and can be due to:

  • Unexpected high number of patients arriving by ambulance
  • High volumes of patients requiring emergency care
  • Wait times for test results of diagnostic imaging

We will make every effort to minimize wait times, do our very best to keep you informed of delays, and provide you with an expected wait time whenever possible.

Patients & Families

We understand that being in an emergency care setting can be upsetting and anxiety provoking, and that having loved ones with you for support can help tremendously. Visitors are always welcome, but there may be times (either for patient privacy and safety or in order to provide you medical care) that we may ask visitors to have a seat in the waiting area. In addition, due to space constraints, we generally ask that only 1 - 2 visitors remain with you at any given time. We will make every effort to have visitors be with you as soon as possible and for as long as possible.

Quick Care

This is a specific area that is focused on treating patients with minor medical conditions. After evaluation by the triage nurse, you may be directed to this area for treatment of your illness. Conditions that are usually managed in quick care include:

  • Sore throat
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Ear infections
  • Rashes
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Sprains and strains
  • Insect/tick bites

Depending on the reason for your visit, and in order to expedite your care, you may undergo x-ray imaging prior to seeing the medical practitioner. Quick care is open every day from 9am - 11pm and is staffed by experienced physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses.

Please be aware that when you are seen in quick care, as a part of the emergency department, all applicable emergency department co-pays apply.

Not Sure Where to Go?

If you are having a medical issue but aren't sure where to go, Urgent Care or the Emergency Department, view our quick guide to see what will best meet your needs.

Read Our Guide

Having An Emergency?

If you are experiencing symptoms of a stroke, heart attack, head injury, or other life threatening emergency you should always call 911 and proceed by ambulance to the nearest emergency department. Our emergency department at Sturdy Memorial Hospital is open 24 hours a day. We are equipped to handle some of the most serious situations life has to offer, and see close to 50,000 visits annually. Learn more about our emergency services.

Level 2 Accredited Geriatric Emergency Department

American College of Emergency Physicians - Geriatric Accredited Emergency Department

Our Locations

Emergency Preparedness

Our emergency preparedness team routinely holds "disaster drills" to test the preparedness of all departments during an internal or external emergency. Taking a leadership role in preparing our community, we have also focused on educating municipalities, health agencies, community organizations and residents about potential threats.