The purpose of emergency rooms is to save lives, but they're more complex than we think. Treating a range of illnesses from cardiac arrest to the common cold, emergency health experts act quickly to get patients the treatment they need. Test your knowledge of emergency rooms with this quiz.
Question 1 of 20
Who predated the modern emergency room to provide care to patients in dire need?
... Before doctors specialized in emergency medicine, general practitioners treated emergency health problems and worked on call 24/7 in their local communities and towns.
Question 2 of 20
What event most bolstered the development of emergency room care?
... Though the growth of military medicine continues to enhance emergency care (and vice versa), World War II brought about the most change in ERs. Health professionals working as specialists abroad came home and shared what they learned with civilian hospitals.
Question 3 of 20
What percent of American adults visit the emergency room each year?
... According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 percent of people 18 years and older visited the ER in 2009.
Question 4 of 20
How do emergency rooms prioritize patients?
... Emergency rooms use a system called triage to prioritize patients based on the severity of their injuries and illnesses. Individuals with life-threatening conditions will be treated before other patients with less severe health problems to ensure the people who need medical attention the most get it.
Question 5 of 20
Do pregnant women go to the emergency room?
... General emergency rooms might not be the best option for pregnant women, but if a patient does not know she's pregnant or has unusual bleeding because of pregnancy complications, it's likely she'll end up there. Hospitals usually have an obstetrics specialist in the ER, too.
Question 6 of 20
In rural areas, who is the most likely to end up visiting the ER?
... Individuals with lower incomes living in rural areas were the most likely to visit the ER, according to the U.S. Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality.
Question 7 of 20
How are emergency medical technicians and paramedics different from emergency care doctors?
... EMTS, paramedics, doctors and hospital staff all work together to save lives. But EMTs and paramedics are usually the ones retrieving patients and providing life-saving care on the scene, while ER doctors usually see patients in the hospital.
Question 8 of 20
What is a non-urgent visit?
... The term non-urgent visit does not mean a person doesn't need treatment for an injury or illness. Rather, it's a level in an ER's priority system in which nurses assess the patient's condition and conclude the problem is not life-threatening if treated between 120 minutes and 24 hours.
Question 9 of 20
Say you're at the ER because you've suddenly become dizzy and short of breath. When you arrive, what's important to keep in mind while discussing your condition with doctors?
... Experts from the American College of Emergency Physicians Foundation say it's important to be specific about your symptoms and make sure doctors know about your medications and health history.
Question 10 of 20
On average, are wait times in emergency rooms getting longer or shorter?
... You might want to consider whether you're condition really requires emergency medical attention because waits in ERs are growing longer. Experts think people are using emergency rooms at greater rates than new ERs can be created, which has led to overcrowding.
Question 11 of 20
If you have a child younger than 3 months old who has a fever, you should take the child to the ER when the fever reaches what temperature?
... Fevers can be dangerous for young children. Experts say to get a child to the doctor immediately if he or she develops a fever 100.4 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) or higher when measured with a rectal thermometer.
Question 12 of 20
What's the difference between emergency care and urgent care?
... Urgent care centers offer treatment for non-life-threatening conditions and refer life-threatening conditions to emergency departments. They're usually less expensive than the ER as well.
Question 13 of 20
Which of the following can warrant treatment in the ER?
... Tick bites might not seem as dangerous as those from snakes, but these arachnids are known carriers of bacteria that can lead to some severe infections in the weeks following a bite. In some cases, emergency care is needed for either type of bite.
Question 14 of 20
Which symptom is reason enough to receive emergency care?
... Stomach and head pains bring many people to the ER, but they don't always require emergency assistance. Sudden changes in vision, however, calls for immediate attention.
Question 15 of 20
What health condition is not among the most common doctors treat in the ER?
... Ear infections are the odd one out. Sprains, breaks and abdominal pain are fairly common.
Question 16 of 20
With existing health disparities, which factors increase a person's likelihood of seeking treatment at emergency departments?
... All types of people need emergency care, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals who most frequently use ER services are older or rely on government programs such as Medicaid.
Question 17 of 20
ER doctors deal with patients arriving with foreign objects in their bodies. What's a potentially dangerous item patients have been known to accidentally swallow?
... All three are frequently swallowed, but soda can tabs can scrape or puncture the inside of a patients digestive system, causing serious problems.
Question 18 of 20
Emergency rooms receive how many visits per year in the United States?
... According to 2008 figures from the CDC, Americans made 124 million visits to the ER.
Question 19 of 20
Which combination best reflects specialties included in most emergency rooms?
... Emergency rooms generally specialize in surgeries, cardiac illnesses, injuries from trauma, orthopedic recovery and obstetrics, making the second answer the best choice.
Question 20 of 20
What health condition is increasingly common in ER rooms?
... More emergency departments are seeing cases of abdominal pain, reports a USA Today article.
How much do you know about the ER?
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