Do Emergency Room Doctors Perform Surgery?

Can medical emergency rooms perform surgeries? Are the doctors qualified enough to perform complicated surgeries? Are emergency rooms equipped enough to perform surgeries? We talked to a senior physician here at Frontline Emergency Room on emergency room surgeries and here is what he had to say;

Emergency rooms are meant to address urgent medical conditions-both urgent and non-urgent. This means that sometimes, some medical conditions require some form of surgical procedure to help save a life or control a certain symptom. When need arises therefore, a medical physician in an emergency room has no option but to perform a surgery on the patient to stabilize their condition. There however are some forms of surgeries that ER doctors can’t handle. Read on to find out more about ER surgeries.

An emergency room doctor completes a four year Doctors of Medicine or Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine degree before they proceed to complete a three or four year postgraduate residency in emergency medicine. They then take American Board of Emergency Medicine examinations. During their training, ER doctors get a little training on basic surgeries and making incisions and over time, they amass more skills and are capable of conducting some forms of surgeries.

It is important to note that an ER doctor’s main obligation is to stabilize a patient after a medical emergency so that other specialists can take over and offer highly specialized treatment and care. The surgical procedure that ER doctors perform are therefore limited in scope to emergency procedures because it is not their primary obligation.

Here is a list and brief explanation of some of the surgeries that an emergency room doctor can handle-


This is a surgery on the pleural region or chest area meant to open your chest. By making an incision in the chest wall between the ribs, a doctor is able to access your lungs and other internal organs to perform whatever procedure they need to stabilize a patient.

This is a very important form of surgery in the emergency room because it helps doctors respond to emergencies such as heart attacks, lung infections and diagnose other diseases. Although emergency room doctors are able to perform this form of surgery, they rarely do so. This is partly due to the fact that most emergency rooms are not equipped enough to facilitate this form of surgery and partly because this form of surgery is hardly ever required.

Placement of chest tubes

A chest tube is a hollow tube which is surgically placed in the chest to act as a drain. This tube helps drain fluids such as blood and air from your lungs, heart and esophagus. The tube is carefully placed in the space between the inner and outer lining of the chest cavity.

This form of surgery is required when a patient is experiencing difficulties breathing or has fluids in his lungs. Just like thoracotomy though, this is a rarity in the emergency room and on average, an emergency room doctor performs two or three such surgeries in their entire lifetime.

Incisions and suturing

These two are probably the most common forms of surgery in the emergency rooms. Doctors in emergency rooms are capable of making incisions for diagnosis purposes and to remove foreign bodies from a patient’s body.

Accidents victims and those with very deep cuts require to be sutured up to enable proper healing and this is something that doctors in the emergency room can comfortably handle. Actually making incisions and suturing openings up is so common that even some experienced registered nurses are capable of doing them.

Caesarean section

Caesarean or C-Section as most people call it, is the use of surgery to deliver one of more babies. This surgery is often performed when a vaginal delivery would put the baby, the mother or both at risk.

C-section is very common in emergency rooms and the doctors can handle it comfortably. There are very many emergency cases of obstructed labor, high blood pressure during pregnancy or problems with the placenta during birth and these are reported to the emergency room.

So, there you have the answer! Emergency room doctors can perform surgeries but they need to be very shallow and non-invasive. Here at Frontline Emergency Room in Richmond, TX, we offer high quality no wait emergency care services provided by board certified physicians and registered nurses. Day or night, we are always available to serve you and offer the care you need.

If we feel we can handle your emergency situation and perform a surgery, we will always be on hand to help you. If the surgery is too complex for our able hands, we will do all we can to stabilize your condition before referring you to a higher level institution for specialized treatment.

If you are in Richmond or Dallas and are looking for an emergency room, look no further than our way. For more information on our services, give us a call today and we will gladly be of service.


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