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Emergency Care | Emergency Department

Anyone can have a medical emergency. If there is an immediate threat to your health, you should go to the emergency department at the nearest hospital for treatment.

Do not drive a car if you are having a medical emergency. Emergency departments are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The ER provides immediate care.

Call 911 for an ambulance.

What is Emergency Care?

Emergency care is needed when you have a sudden medical problem that requires immediate hospital care. Call 911 if you have to get to the hospital right away. Medics can start treatment on the way to the hospital.

According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, these are warning signs that you are having a medical emergency:

  • Bleeding that will not stop
  • Breathing problems
  • Change in mental status (unusual behavior, confusion)
  • Chest pain
  • Choking
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Feeling like harming yourself or someone else
  • Head or spine injury
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Sudden injury such as a car accident, burns or smoke inhalation, near drowning, deep or large wound, etc.
  • Sudden, severe pain anywhere in your body
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness or change in your vision
  • Swallowing a poisonous substance
  • Upper abdominal pain or pressure

If you experience any of these problems, call 911 immediately.

When to Use Urgent Care or a Walk-in Clinic

If this is a minor emergency or you just cannot get an appointment to see your regular provider, walk-in care or an urgent care facility may be an option.

Level 1 Trauma Center

Maine Medical Center’s Emergency Department in Portland is the only Level 1 trauma center in Maine. It is staffed by board-certified emergency medicine doctors. The Level 1 trauma center is a regional resource, caring for patients from Maine and New Hampshire.

Level 1 trauma centers are staffed to provide care to patients who have had major traumatic injuries, including falls, motor vehicle accidents, and gunshot wounds. Designation as a Level 1 trauma center by the American College of Surgeons indicates that a hospital has the highest level of care in the areas of:

  • Emergency medicine
  • Trauma surgery
  • Critical care
  • Neurosurgery
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Anesthesiology
  • Radiology

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