5 things to do if you're hospitalized or in the ER - Prickly Pear Family Medicine
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5 things to do if you're hospitalized or in the ER

More and more I'm seeing on how patients are scared for themselves and family when in an emergency situation.  Navigating the bureaucracy of hospital administration and the jargon from medical staff can be complex and overwhelming. Patients and their loved ones are often overwhelmed with emotion and anxious about what's to come.  If you or a family member are hospialized or in the ER here's what you should be doing.

1. Ask for copies of everything before you leave like imaging reports and labs.

Don't accept "Oh your primary care doctor can request it later".  I've requested documents from hospitals that have taken two months to send me information.  That's a long time when dealing with health.

2. Make sure to ask the staff coming in and out of your room to identify themselves.

Are they the doctor or are they a physician's assitant, nurse practitioner or nurse assistant? Knowing who you're talking to will allow you to take your interactions with them into proper context.  A small but critical piece of knowledge when dealing with all the people coming in and out of your room doing any number of things.

3. Make sure you have a charger.

Some hospital systems will give you real time results through your patient portal while you're still in the ER. Long ER waits mean that you could find yourself with a dead phone right when you need the results.

4. Don't go if you don't have to.

This seems like no-brainer.  As an ER director, everyday my waiting room had a number of people who didn't need emergency services for their issue. They would've been better served and saved money by seeing their primary care doctor. Have a conversation with your primary care physician about how they recommend you handle emergency situations.  Due to our broken healthcare system, for many situations people think it's an ER visit, but in reality your PCP can handle it. Each doctor's capacity and ability will vary.  That's why it's good to have the conversation because it can save you an expensive ER visit.  I encourage my patients to contact me  when an urgent situation arises.  I've handled animal bites, broken toes / fingers, workplace injuries and many more in my small clinic which saves my patients thousands of dollars in ER or urgent care bills.

5. Bring someone with you to the ER or have them meet you there.

When it's you that's having the emergency or a close family member, chances are you're not on top of your game.  You need someone you trust that can think a little more clearly.  You want someone that's not afraid to ask question, request help or ask for documentation.  They can also help take notes or help you remember everything that's happening.

Treating Patients, the Way I Treat My Abuelita

As a kid, I saw firsthand how families struggled accessing healthcare and finding a bilingual doctor. I founded Prickly Pear Family Medicine because healthcare shouldn't be a privilege and everyone should have a doctor in the family.

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Spanish Speaking Doctor Houston

Get in touch, let's get together & talk about your health

As a doctor, only spending 10 minutes with a patient doesn't cut it.  That's not the way I practice medicine.  Patient visits at my clinic are always unrushed. I'm looking to earn your trust, not the blessing of an insurance company.