10 Tips to Get You Through a Trip to the ER

Never Exaggerate Symptoms
Emergency room staff may grow suspicious if your description of your symptoms seems like a bid for an Academy Award. © maria_esau/iStock/Thinkstock

Patients who are overly dramatic or who demand specific medications may not even realize they're doing so, or they may try it as way to move to the front of the line. But that just ends up raising suspicions that they may be malingering, which is what doctors call it when patients intentionally fake or exaggerate symptoms. For instance, if you complain of severe abdominal pains and vomiting during your ER evaluation but nosh on vending machine snacks to pass the time in the waiting room, your attending doctor may be skeptical of your story.

Be as complete and as clear as you can when describing the symptoms that brought you to seek emergency care. That should include, at the very least, what those symptoms are, when each symptom began, whether these symptoms have happened in the past, and whether you can link your symptoms to a trigger or cause (such as a new medication, food poisoning or accidental slip of a kitchen knife).

Also disclose whether you treated the illness or injury at home before you decided to seek emergency care. Be specific about how you've self-treated, such as if you took any fever-reducers or painkillers, and when.