Behind the Scenes: Cedars-Sinai Emergency Room
Jul 01, 2019 Cedars-Sinai Staff
Visiting the ER can feel like a slow and stressful process, especially when you or a loved one is ill or injured.
Ever wonder what’s going on behind the scenes?
Facts and figures
Every hospital is staffed and resourced differently. As a Level I trauma center, Cedars-Sinai treats every condition.
From life-threatening heart attacks and strokes to less critical complications like coughs and colds, the ER stands ready for whatever comes through its doors—and quite a lot comes through its doors.
More than 91,000 patients are treated in the Cedars-Sinai Beverly Hills ER each year—around 260 each day.
About 35% of those patients are admitted to the hospital for continued treatment, more than twice the rate of a typical community hospital, says Claude Stang, executive director of emergency services.
The ER has 51 beds—with the ability to accommodate more if needed, such as after an earthquake, fire, or other major incident in the community.
Patients can walk in or are transported in via ambulance and even helicopter to receive care at all hours.
A triage nurse assesses every patient’s condition upon arrival using what’s called the Emergency Severity Index. Patients in the most critical condition are treated first.
The ER is typically busiest between 11 am and 11 pm, though this can vary depending on the day. Wait times also tend to increase during flu season.
“If you are sick beyond sick, you’re going to be seen very quickly,” Claude says.
“If it’s not a life-threatening emergency, you may not be seen as quickly as you like, but we will make sure you are safe and seen as quickly as possible.”
There are many factors that determine how long you will wait at the ER, most notably:
- Severity of your condition
- Number of critical or trauma patients arriving
- Availability of beds
- Number of patients waiting
You are welcome to bring items that make you more comfortable, like snacks, laptops, books, and blankets. Religious objects and friends and family members can provide support during your visit.
What conditions do people come to the ER for?
Among the top conditions treated in the ER:
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Some patients come to the ER seeking treatment that could have been done at an urgent care, such as an X-ray, blood work, or prescription medication for a bacterial infection.
The ER will treat all conditions. But an urgent care center is often a quicker, more affordable option than the ER for issues that are not life-threatening.
So how do you decide if you should go to urgent care or the ER?
If you or somebody you know has a serious condition, such as a heart attack, stroke, seizure, severe bleeding, head injury, or other major trauma, go to the nearest ER or call 911.
If you’re not sure, call your primary care physician or one of our urgent care locations to ensure you receive care in the most appropriate setting.