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Recognizing medical emergencies

Stopping bleeding with pressure and ice
Neck pulse

Definition

Getting medical help right away for someone who is having a medical emergency can save their life. This article describes the warning signs of a medical emergency and how to be prepared.

Alternative Names

Medical emergencies - how to recognize them

Information

According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, the following are warning signs of a medical emergency:

BE PREPARED:

WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE NEEDS HELP:

Upon arriving at an emergency room, the person will be evaluated right away. Life- or limb-threatening conditions will be treated first. People with conditions that are not life- or limb-threatening may have to wait.

CALL YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY NUMBER (SUCH AS 911) IF:

References

American College of Emergency Physicians website. Is it an emergency? www.emergencycareforyou.org/Emergency-101/Is-it-an-Emergency#sm.000148ctb7hzjdgerj01cg5sadhih. Accessed February 14, 2019.

Blackwell TH. Emergency medical services: overview and ground transport. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 190.


Review Date: 1/12/2019
Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.