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Emergency Department

The WMHS Emergency Department Team is proficient in lifesaving skills and has expert knowledge in the delivery of care within emergency medicine. Our team includes:

Emergency physicians
Trauma surgeons
Orthopedic surgeons
Critical care specialists
Physician Assistants/Nurse Practitioners
Emergency nurses
Other support personnel who are available on a 24-hour basis.

Trauma/Emergency Telephone: 240-964-1200
Non-Urgent Care Telephone: 240-964-1300photo


About the Emergency Department
We know that a visit to the Emergency Department can be stressful. Minutes seem like hours when you are uncomfortable and anxious. We want you to know that we use a sorting system called Triage, not a first-come-first-served order to treat patients in the ED. This sorting process ensures that patients with the most serious injuries or illnesses are treated first. For example, if a patient arrives with chest pain, he or she is treated before a patient who arrived earlier but has a swollen ankle. Heart attacks have priority over earaches, and complicated fractures are treated before small cuts. During triage, a specially trained Registered Nurse will do an assessment on you to determine what Emergency Severity Index (ESI) level 1-5 scale you fall in.

Acute Treatment Area
If your condition is life-threatening, we will take you directly to the acute treatment area and begin your care immediately. This area includes 4 trauma rooms that are equipped with the resources necessary to provide treatment to patients with severe and/or multiple injuries. Other rooms are specially equipped to deal with other serious health issues, such as chest pain, that require intensive evaluation and treatment.

Fast Track
Patients with minor illness or injuries (such as flu, sprains, lacerations or small cuts) are seen in the "Fast Track area by a physicians assistant or nurse practitioner who works in consultation with an emergency department physician. Having this designated area available during peak volume hours enables these patients to be seen sooner by a provider and discharged more quickly.

Rapid Medical Evaluation
There are many patients whose needed level of care falls somewhere in the middle of the acuity range. In order to reduce the wait times for these patients, a new Rapid Medical Evaluation area is available everyday from 10 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.

The RME area provides space where a team of providers can assess patients with serious health issues and get any required lab or radiology exams underway more quickly. This innovative approach greatly reduces the waiting time for patients to see a provider and decreases their length of stay in the ED. The RME area includes beds and recliners where patients wait until their tests results are available and treatment is completed. In addition, having the RME area keeps beds free in the acute area of the ED for patients with the most serious and life-threatening conditions.

Your Treatment Process
An Emergency Department nurse will evaluate your condition and ask you about your medical history, current medications and drug allergies. Then one of our Emergency Department physicians, physician assistant or nurse practitioners will assess the problem you are having, discuss it with you and recommend a course of treatment. Sometimes he or she might order a diagnostic test or a specialist consultation.

We screen all patients for domestic violence, smoking, alcohol and drug use. We will provide referrals if you would like assistance with any of these issues.

Waiting to be Treated
WMHS Emergency Department treats approximately 4500 patients each month, and we make every attempt to keep your waiting time as short as possible. In many instances, virtually no patients wait in the EDs main waiting room; they are quickly triaged and moved to the appropriate point of care. Sometimes, however, the wait for treatment is longer than we would like due to the number of patients being treated or their severity. It is our commitment to you that you will be evaluated by a health care provider within 30 minutes of your arrival. If your condition changes while you are waiting, please let the nurse know immediately. Take comfort in knowing that when your turn arrives, you will receive our fullest attention.

Family and Friends
During your treatment you may have two visitors at the bedside. There may be times when we ask your visitor(s) to step out of the room and wait in the waiting area. Patient confidentiality and privacy are important to us. We will keep your visitors informed if you wish.

If a family member or friend is waiting with you, he or she might wish to use the vending machines or watch television to help pass the time. The Food Court is open 24 hours a day.

When Your Treatment is Completed
Your illness or injury may require admission. After your admission is processed, you will be transported to an available bed by a nursing staff member. In the event that your condition requires treatment not available at WMHS, arrangements will be made to have you transferred to another health care facility. A physician will determine whether you will go by ambulance, helicopter, or private vehicle.
If you have been cleared to be discharged home, a nurse will review written instructions with you to ensure that you understand any medications that have been prescribed for you and review your follow-up care.