Your physician will obtain a thorough history and perform a physical exam in order to treat you. He or she may need (though not always) to order tests, which could include blood tests and imaging studies (Xray, ultrasound, CT scan or others) to help make a diagnosis. Your discharge instructions also may include obtaining a medical test (e.g., MRI) as a followup to your emergency visit.
Tip: It can take time to receive test results, but the results will determine the course of your treatment, so patience is encouraged. However, if you leave before getting the results, be sure to let the nurse know you are leaving, and provide good contact information.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Emergency physicians are well trained to identify and treat medical conditions. The emergency physician will rule out any lifethreatening illnesses that could occur based on your symptoms and medical exam. He or she will discuss the findings of any diagnostic tests performed and set an appropriate course of action, which may include discharge to followup with your primary care doctor or specialist, period of observation in the emergency department or hospital, or admission to the hospital for further testing, monitoring and care. Many times in the emergency department there is not a final diagnosis made for a person's symptoms.
Tip: Many conditions have clear medical care courses; others require workups, either in the emergency department or after you are admitted to the hospital. If you are admitted to the hospital, the emergency physician will consult the appropriate care specialist to continue your medical care in the hospital.