Welcome to the ED

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 Emergency Department and will help you and your loved ones know what to expect during your visit.                

MGH ED VidScrip Channel

Watch videos that provide helpful information about the MGH ED, various medical conditions, tips for eating healthy and preventing falls, and more.


For more information about the Pediatric Emergency Department, please click here.

Estimated Wait Times

If you are having lab tests, x-rays or consultations, the estimated wait times for the results are:

  • Lab tests: 1 to 2 hours from collection
  • X-rays: 1 to 2 hours
  • CAT scans: 4 to 6 hours
  • MRI tests: 6 to 8 hours
  • Specialty consultations with doctors from other services: 1 to 2 hours


  • Who is taking care of me in the Emergency Department (ED)?
  • Why am I being asked the same questions so many times?
  • It looks like some patients are being seen who came in after I did. Did they forget about me?
  • What are the Acute and Urgent areas of the Emergency Department?
  • What is the Evaluation area of the Emergency Department?
  • What is the Clinical Decision Unit (CDU)?
  • It looks like there are multiple seating areas in the CDU. Should I stay in one?
  • What is the Fast Track area of the Emergency Department?
  • What is the Pediatrics area of the Emergency Department?
  • Are there interpreters available? I would feel more comfortable discussing my care in my native language.
  • I feel worse. Who should I tell?
  • I’m not comfortable. Is there anything you can do?
  • Can I eat and drink?
  • What tests will I undergo?
  • How long will I be here?
  • Will I need to stay in the hospital?
  • What does it mean to be “observed” in the hospital?
  • What happens when I go home?
  • How can I access my test results after I leave the ED?
  • Where can I get help related to a substance use disorder after I leave the ED?
  • My phone or tablet battery is running low. Where can I charge it?
  • How can I access the internet?
  • I don’t feel safe at home. Who can I tell?
  • How can my family members contact me while I am here?
  • I want to provide feedback about my experience.
  • Who should I contact if I receive a bill for my visit?
  • My clinical team recommended follow up care. How do I know if it will be covered by my insurance?
  • What should I do if I need to update my registration information after I am discharged?
  • How do I learn more about eligibility for financial assistance?


    • In the Emergency Department, we offer free Wi-Fi (called “phspiaguest”), electronic device charging stations, televisions, and reading materials. We may also be able to offer a pillow, warm blanket, cold pack, or food and drink. Please let a member of your team know if you are interested in any of these services.
    • Click here for information about your ED care team
    • Click here to watch videos that provide helpful information about the MGH ED, various medical conditions, tips for eating healthy and preventing falls, and more.
    • Click here for a listing of the various services and amenities for patients and families offered at Massachusetts General Hospital (e.g. parking, shuttle service, cafeterias, chaplaincy, gift shop, etc.).
    • Below find a list of resources that may be helpful to you or your loved one after your visit to the Emergency Department.

Leaving the ED

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 care team

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


More information regarding the end of your ED visit.


Be sure to tell your regular primary and specialty care doctors that you visited the ED. They may want to follow up with you.


Thank you for allowing us to care for you today.

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