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Massachusetts General Hospital offers various resources that may be helpful during your visit in the Emergency Department.
Welcome to the Emergency Department at Massachusetts General Hospital. We are committed to providing you with the best possible care while you are here. The below video contains important information about the pediatric section of the Emergency Department and will help you and your loved ones know what to expect during your visit.
If you are having lab tests, x-rays or consultations, the estimated wait times for the results are:
The CDU is an area inside the Emergency Department where you will be evaluated, may have tests done, and will be treated for your condition.
Your care is continuing while you are in the CDU and there will be a healthcare team responsible for your care at all times.
The CDU is made up of four Treatment Areas: A, B, C, and D. You should stay in the area to which you were escorted. This will make it easier for your nurse, transporters, and other staff to identify you. If you really need to move from one area to another, please let your nurse or another staff member know.
There are either live (in-person) or phone-based interpretation services available 24 hours per day for almost every language. Even if you speak English, tell a member of your healthcare team if you feel more comfortable communicating in your native language and an interpreter will be provided.
A triage nurse quickly evaluates every patient before being directed to the CDU. During your evaluation, you may be seen by a resident (training) doctor or a PA (physician assistant). You will always have an assigned attending physician (a supervising Emergency Medicine doctor).
While you are in the CDU you may also encounter patient transporters, radiology technicians, volunteers, and other healthcare team members, all of whom are working together to provide you the best care possible.
In order to maximize the safety of every patient, multiple members of the healthcare team may ask you to confirm your identity or why you are visiting the Emergency Department at various points during your stay.
Also, you may be evaluated by multiple members of the healthcare team, including nurses, physician assistants, training physicians, supervising physicians, and consulting (specialist) physicians. Each may ask you to repeat important information relevant to your condition in order to provide you the safest and best possible care.
Our Emergency Department aims to provide the best and fastest care to every patient who comes through the door. Because some patients may have abnormal vital signs or medical conditions that put them at higher risk than others, sometimes patients will be evaluated “out of order” in order to maximize safety for every patient. This is the triage process, and we continually re-evaluate our patients to make sure that the sickest people receive prompt care.
If at any point while you are in the CDU you feel worse or different than when you came in, tell any staff member and a member of your healthcare team will come to reevaluate you.
If you are in pain, let your nurse know.
Since there are not always enough stretchers (beds) for every patient in the CDU to lie down, those patients who are able to sit in chairs are asked to do so. There are always warm blankets available in the CDU. Ask any staff member for one if you are cold.
Ask a member of your healthcare team if it is okay for you to eat or drink. Sometimes you may need to undergo a test or procedure that means you should not eat or drink. If you are able to drink, there is always fresh water available. Ask any staff member if you are thirsty. There is a 24-hour café called Coffee Central in the hospital’s main lobby, as well as a cafeteria downstairs. If you are able to eat, a family member can purchase food for you there including sandwiches, soups, and pastries.
Every patient’s workup is different based on why she or he is here. You may require lab tests (blood draw or urine sample), x-rays or CT scans (pictures of the inside of your body), or other tests. Some patients may not require any tests during their Emergency Department visit. Your healthcare team will explain what tests you will need and can answer any questions you may have.
Every patient is different and there is no way to provide exact estimates of how long your treatment will take. Imaging tests (like x-rays and CT scans) can take several hours to be completed and interpreted by the radiology doctors. Lab tests may take up to 90 minutes or longer to result depending on the test.
You may also need to be evaluated by a consulting doctor (a specialist doctor) from outside the Emergency Department depending on your condition, and this may also take several hours.
Remember that there is a healthcare team responsible for your care at all times and if you have question about next steps in your care, ask at any time.
Sometimes your condition may require additional care in the hospital and you will be admitted or observed in the hospital. At that point your care continue with a different healthcare team.
Once the decision has been made, your healthcare team will talk to you about where in the hospital you will go and what to expect. Sometimes there may be a very long wait for a bed to become available. In that case your care will continue in the Emergency Department until your bed is ready.
Depending on why you need to stay and which team will take care of you in the hospital, they may come to meet you while you are still in the Emergency Department and start taking care of you at that time.
Remember that there is always a healthcare team responsible for your care. If you are ever unsure who that is, just ask.
Many times your treatment will be completed in the Emergency Department and it will be safe for you to go home. You will be given specific follow-up instructions before you leave. You may be prescribed medications to continue taking when you leave the Emergency Department. It is very important that you fill these prescriptions at the pharmacy and take the medicine as instructed.
There is an outpatient pharmacy here at MGH on the first floor of the Wang Ambulatory Care Center building. Ask for directions if you wish to fill your prescription there. The hours of operation are: Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, Saturday, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, Sunday and holidays, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
If you have any questions about what you should do when you go home, ask a member of your healthcare team.
Your healthcare team will also talk to you about reasons to return to the Emergency Department. If you have any of these symptoms or any other concerns, you can return at any time to be reevaluated. The Emergency Department is open 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
There is a charging station available in Treatment Area C. Do not leave your electronic device unattended.
There is complimentary Wi-Fi internet access available throughout the Emergency Department. Look for “Partners Guest” in your network list to connect.
Tell any staff member if you have any concerns about your safety at home or anywhere else. We will assist you to make sure that you are safe while you are here and prior to leaving the hospital.
The main phone number for the hospital is 617-726-2000. Your family members can ask to be transferred to the Emergency Department and be routed to the area in which you are a patient. If your family members come to the Emergency Department, they will be greeted at the main desk and staff will escort them to your location.
We are always trying to improve our care, and we welcome your feedback! Please let a member of your healthcare team know if you have comments or questions about your Emergency Department visit.
If at the end of your ED visit you are being discharged home, we will go over a list of instructions to follow after leaving the hospital. Before you leave please make sure to:
Review your discharge summary with your nurse
Understand your discharge and follow up instructions
Have your prescriptions
Ask us questions on anything you are unclear about
Ask for a work/school note if needed
Gather your belongings
Be sure to tell your regular primary and specialty care doctors that you visited the ED. They may want to follow up with you.
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