Why ER Visits for Non-Emergencies?

Before deciding on the best medical facility to report your medical emergency to, it is important to understand the category under which you medical emergency falls to. Understanding the category under which your condition will help you report the condition to the right medical facility at the right time.

There basically are three types of medical conditions; immediately life threatening, urgent, but not immediately threatening and non-urgent medical conditions. Immediately life threatening conditions are those which will result in death in a few hours or even minutes if proper treatment is not offered. These include major injuries to important organs, heart attacks, poisoning, excessive bleeding, severe burns and head trauma.

Urgent, but not immediately life threatening conditions are those which pose a threat to one’s life but will take a little longer to be fatal. Such medical conditions include severe diarrhea, viral infections, dehydration and some injuries that affect some body organs.

Non-urgent medical conditions are those conditions that don’t pose a threat to one’s life whatsoever. These are mild symptoms which even if they are untreated will go away on their own or can be dealt with using over the counter drugs. They include small burns, flu, fever, eye infections, ear infections and sprains.

Ironically, non-urgent medical conditions account for the majority of emergency room visits. This use of emergency rooms for non-urgent conditions leads to excessive healthcare spending, unnecessary traffic at the emergency rooms and weaker patient-primary care provider relations. The big question therefore is why do so many people make emergency room visits for non-emergencies?

According to a study by the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Survey here are the most common reasons why people make Emergency Room visits for non-emergencies;

Information gap

There is a lack of information on what emergency rooms are meant for. A lot of Americans treat emergency rooms as small ‘hospitals’ and any medical condition therefore, should be reported here. With more education, people will differentiate the various categories of medical conditions and visit emergency rooms when they have to.


There are lots and myths about diseases that make people head over to emergency rooms. Most of these myths and misconceptions are fueled by internet diagnosis which makes people nervous and they end up in emergency rooms when their medical conditions are not as bad.

Today, if you Google your symptoms, you are most likely going to find results which will make you believe that you are in urgent need of medical care. A lot of online medical blogs are assumptive and their content is inaccurate and misleading.

Doctor reimbursement

Doctors sometimes send patients to Emergency Rooms because of various reasons. Some doctors are scared of getting sued if something bad happens to you if they take too long to treat you. If a doctor is not in the office for example and he/she receives a call from a patient, he/she will dread making an appointment with the patient because things might go wrong. This will be treated as negligence and the doctor will be answered.

This is why doctors opt to stay on the safe side by sending late night patients and unsure cases to the emergency rooms. Results are that even patients with less serious conditions end up in emergency rooms and cause unnecessary traffic.

Proximity to neighborhoods

Emergency rooms are popping up everywhere and this means they are closer to people than other medical facilities. People will obviously opt for a facility that is closest to them and this is exactly why emergency rooms receive non-emergency conditions.

Even if a patient can toughen up and wait to see a doctor in a hospital, they opt to go to the nearest emergency room because they deem it to be more convenient.

Low co-payments

Despite the fact that emergency room services cost relatively more than those of hospitals, a lot of people tend to treat co-pays as bargains and don’t mind reporting even the most harmless infections to the emergency room.

Emergency rooms will never turn patients away

The fact that people always get the services they require in emergency rooms, makes them want to come back again and again. Even if the case is not serious, emergency rooms will not turn you away and will provide the care needed.

It is not wrong to report non-urgent medical conditions to emergency rooms- it is just a little inconveniencing and will cost you a little more. Using triage, you will be last in line and will receive care last which can be a little time consuming. If using the emergency room is the only resort you have though, there absolutely is nothing wrong with seeking medical help here.

Here at Frontline ER in White Rock Lake Dallas, 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 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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