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Medical Emergency

In an emergency, the first thing to remember is "911". This is the telephone number to call from anywhere in the United States for immediate, skilled medical attention. While it is wise to have other important numbers regarding medical assistance (individual’s personal doctor, poison control center, etc.) near telephone, in a genuine emergency it is imperative to dial 911 first. In such situations, time is the most important factor in preventing damage or even loss of life. The operator handling your "911" call will immediately dispense the necessary help, both in terms of sending an ambulance and in routing individual’s call to a counselor who will guide through the situation until the ambulance arrives.

Emergency medicine in the U.S. is very high quality. Ambulance attendants, or paramedics, are highly trained in dealing with trauma and making split-second decisions that save lives.

And many hospitals are equipped with trauma centers whose single purpose is handling emergency situations, including emergency surgery. In an emergency, individual will begin to receive treatment immediately and will be taken to the facility that can best handle the situation, whether it is a trauma center, a burn treatment center, a cardiac treatment center (heart attacks), a children's hospital or a general hospital. If an individual is conscious, or if there is a family member or a friend with the individual, they will be asked for the name of patient’s doctor, who will be summoned to the hospital to which patient is taken.

It is important to keep in mind that while emergency care in the U.S. is excellent, it is also expensive. There will be a fee for the ambulance, the emergency room, any medications administered, the services of doctors involved and any tests or special procedures involved. It is important never to hesitate when there is a genuine emergency but these services are not intended for situations where a call to your doctor or a visit to a walk-in clinic would be sufficient.

An additional note about "911": This number is also used in police emergencies, and therefore is not limited to medical situations. Any time an individual is in serious danger, witness an accident or a crime in progress, this number is called.

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