Emergency Room FAQs

Emergency & Trauma Questions & Answers

Emergencies can happen when we least expect them. Any trip to an emergency room (ER) can be stressful for patients and their loved ones. ER physicians are specifically trained to address the most severe injuries by using life-saving measures. Learn the answers to several frequently asked questions about emergency and trauma care.

While ER doctors may perform surgery, their first priority is to stabilize any injured patient that comes in. They will provide initial emergency care, such as starting a blood transfusion or ordering oxygen therapy. Beyond that, they may recommend further treatment by trained specialists. 

Emergency medicine is a special kind of medical practice that’s dedicated to the treatment of sudden illness, disease or injury. It can be practiced anywhere, but it’s most commonly performed in an ER or trauma center. 

Triage is the process of identifying which patients need the greatest care and attention depending on their condition or illness. In the ER, certain patients with less severe needs may be asked to wait, while those with the most immediate need are given care first. 

When to seek treatment in an ER depends on many factors. Head directly to the ER if your immediate condition could result in death or permanent disability. Urgent care centers are good alternatives for less serious injuries. 

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a hospital room designated for patients who need constant care and observation in the short term.


The CCU (Coronary Care Unit, Cardiac Care Unit or Critical Care Unit) is generally staffed with cardiologists and intended for patients with heart complications

The injury severity score (ISS) is a medical score that’s used to assess the severity of a traumatic injury. A major traumatic injury is generally defined as having an injury severity score of greater than 15. 

Some common types of traumatic injuries can include: 


It depends on what kind of injury has been suffered, but generally, traumatic injuries are treated in an emergency or operating room by a professionally trained trauma team, who are skilled at applying life-saving measures to patients.  

Traumatic injury is a term that describes a physical injury that requires immediate medical attention. Traumatic injuries occur during potentially life-changing events, such as car accidents, natural disasters and unexpected falls. 

The easiest thing for you to do if you have swelling of the face is to ice it as quickly as possible. Keeping your head elevated, even while you’re sleeping, can also help reduce the swelling of your face due to an injury. 

In most cases a facial bruising will go away on its own in about two weeks. Icing your bruise and keeping your head elevated can provide some relief. After a day or two, use warm treatment to increase blood flow to the affected area. 

There are some common symptoms that may indicate you have a broken cheekbone. If you notice a flatness of the cheek, vision problems, pain when moving your jaw or an uncomfortable sensation under your eye, your cheekbone may be broken. 

How long a fractured eye socket takes to heal depends on many factors. Swelling and bruising will normally go away after one week, but the fracture itself can take much longer to heal. How severe your facture is will determine your length of recovery.

Facial swelling can be caused from minor or major medical situations. It’s considered dangerous if your swelling is the result of an allergic reaction, eye infection, side effect of medication or hormonal disturbance. 

Facial fractures can be treated in one of two ways - an open or a closed reduction. A closed reduction is performed by resetting bones without the patient undergoing surgery. An open reduction requires surgery to reset the alignment of broken bones. Reconstructive surgery may be needed for complex fractures or several broken bones. 

A trauma emergency refers to a physical injury that requires immediate medical attention. Traumatic emergencies occur during potentially life-changing events, such as car accidents, natural disasters and unexpected falls, for example. 

Provided your burn isn’t severe, wounds can be treated effectively using home therapies. Rinse your burn with cool water and clean thoroughly with soap. After drying your wound and the surrounding area, apply a simple antibiotic ointment and non-stick bandage to the damaged skin. 

There are 4 different levels of a trauma unit. In general, a level 1 trauma unit is able to provide comprehensive trauma care to all its patients, while a level 4 trauma unit can only provide limited care, and may refer patients to another facility for complete care.

How you care for a burn wound depends on the severity of the wound itself. Once first aid has been applied, certain treatments may be used to improve the condition of your wound. Treatments can include medications, dressings, surgery or therapy. 

Trauma surgeons are specifically trained to operate on patients who’ve sustained life-threatening injuries. They’re responsible for treating broken or fractured bones, internal injuries, burn wounds and other traumatic conditions. 

A trauma care unit is an area of a hospital that’s equipped to deal with patients suffering from life-threatening injuries. It’s staffed with highly trained physicians and surgeons who have experience performing critical procedures.   

A trauma patient is anyone who has experienced a life-threatening injury as a result of a catastrophic event, such as a car accident, natural disaster and unexpected fall.