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Emergency Room – Length and Focus of Visit

January 30, 2021


The answers to these questions are extremely variable from one case to another, and from one ER to another. After a patient sees their doctor, it is perfectly okay to ask them if they have a rough estimate for how long the ER visit is likely to take. However, this can often change during the course of the ER visit. For example, critically ill or injured patients may arrive to the ER and take priority of care, which could mean some delays for the other patients in the ER. Or test results may lead to the need for further testing, which could then take more time. The same principle also applies to how long it takes to get test results. I can say that at least in my personal experience in different ERs, it most often takes about an hour or so to get the results from most common blood and urine tests after they are sent to the lab. The same goes for most x-rays and other imaging tests, such as ultrasound and CT. The staff who work in ERs are highly trained professionals who are focused on the care of the patients in the ER. In general, the focus of ER visits will be on the immediate problem at hand. Other issues that are either not immediately serious or are stable and longstanding often can not be fully resolved and comprehensively addressed during that one ER visit. Additionally, the ER staff will usually focus on conditions that are the most immediately serious or life-threatening.

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