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What to Expect

What will happen when you arrive in the Emergency Department?
Upon arrival, you will be evaluated by one of our triage nurses, who will ensure that patients with the most critical emergencies receive care first. Depending on your medical conditions, you may be brought directly to our emergency treatment area, Our Express Care or be asked to have a seat in the waiting room.

Next, you will be registered.
After the triage nurse completes your triage, you or a loved one will need to see a registration clerk. The clerk will ask for your name and address, your health insurance information, (no person will be refused care because of insurance), your doctor’s name and emergency contact information. It is important that we have accurate contact information from you.

People are seen at triage and registration in the order in which they arrive. Once their medical condition is evaluated, they move into a priority queue based upon the severity of their symptoms. This priority system is revised constantly, so people who have arrived after you may be seen before you. Please let the nurse know if your condition changes while you are waiting.


After registration, you will receive treatment.
Depending on your medical condition as assessed by the triage nurse, you may be sent to the appropriate area of the Emergency Department to be seen by a physician, or you may be asked to stay in the waiting room until an examination space is available.

Depending on the severity of your condition and/or test results, the Emergency Physician, may:
• Send you home with instructions. If necessary, the physician may make arrangements for follow-up with your own family doctor (if you do not have a family doctor, we can suggest one), or for you to see a Mercy Medical Center Specialist. Make sure you understand all instructions before you leave, Or:
• Refer you to a consulting physician or specialist who will decide whether or not to admit you to the hospital.

Why do I have to wait?

This is a complex question and is difficult to answer but we hope the following facts may help provide some understanding:
• Emergency Departments nationwide must evaluate and treat everyone who arrives, regardless of their ability to pay; no one gets “turned away.”
• Mercy Medical Center sees 38,000 patients per year in the Emergency Department.
• The number of uninsured patients continues to grow, and they may have nowhere other than the Emergency Department to turn to for care.
• Many hospitals in New York have closed over the last ten years. Nationally, 1,000 emergency rooms closed during the same period of time.
• Diagnosing your emergency condition may require laboratory tests, or radiological testing which take time to be processed.
• Patients needing admission to the hospital may remain in the emergency room because there are no beds immediately available in the hospital.
• Complicated trauma, cardiac or neurological emergencies such as car accidents, heart attacks and strokes require a great deal of resources and may tie up the staff.
• Ambulance patients arrive in the emergency department through a separate entrance making the department busy even when the waiting room appears empty.

When can my family visit?

Mercy Medical Center encourages family-centered care. In the best interest of all the patients, we request that:
• Families follow instructions given by the nurse with regards to limiting the number of visitors and noise level;
• Visitors respect the privacy of other patents and not wander freely through the department; and
• Families have one person to act as their spokesperson to decrease confusion and make communications between staff and family easier.