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When should you go to the emergency room?


HEALTH TIP - Many people go to these saturated services for no good reason. Conversely, others should have called 15 to be taken care of more quickly. Le Figaro takes stock.

Emergencies are aptly named: you should only go there in an emergency.

But how do you know if the situation warrants it?

What signs should alert?

When can we wait a little before consulting?

Explanations with Nathalie Assez, emergency doctor at the Lille CHRU.

What symptoms require going to the emergency room?

First of all, it is necessary "to

distinguish the symptoms which are of a vital emergency from the symptoms of the order of traumatology, that is to say "bobos" which could probably be managed at home

", explains Nathalie Assez .

Is the person conscious?

Is she breathing properly?

Are its vital functions engaged?

According to the government website, the first warning signs that should be of concern are:

  • difficulty


    which may be associated with airway obstruction

  • persistent


  • loss

    of consciousness, coma


    unusual malaise

  • chest


    that may reflect cardio-respiratory arrest or myocardial infarction

  • very intense

    abdominal pain

    that could be explained by a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, or more rarely a ruptured liver tumor or spleen

  • a

    sudden speech deficit:

    often, it is a sequela of cerebrovascular accident (CVA), head trauma following an accident or even a brain tumor

  • a

    strong burn

Nevertheless, for Dr Assez, "

these symptoms are not exhaustive

" and to be put into perspective according to the


, the


of the appearance of the symptoms, their


(a persistent bleeding is an emergency where a nosebleed can be controlled by a compression), the existence of




, i.e. the presence of diseases in addition to the symptom (diabetes, obesity, heart problems, etc.)


Doctor, emergency, center 15… who and when to consult?

For other signs, how do you know if an emergency is necessary?

In general, “ ordinary

” symptoms

(fever, flu syndrome, headaches, etc.) are a matter for general medicine.

Before rushing to the emergency room, often in a panic, calling your primary care physician can be useful to optimize care.

However, in some cases, it is difficult to identify the severity of symptoms because they do not necessarily fall into the categories of life-threatening emergencies or are part of a procession of symptoms which, taken in isolation, do not seem worrying.

Sometimes respiratory discomfort can be a simple flu but in other situations, this symptom can hide a more serious pathology which justifies a visit to the emergency room

“says Nathalie Assez.

Thus, faced with unusual behavior, it is always best to dial 15 so that a specialist can assess the seriousness of the situation.

Should we call 15 before going to the emergency room?

Going to the emergency room on your own initiative without calling 15 is a recurring mistake which, in addition to hospital overcrowding problems, can be dangerous for the patient.

If it is really a life-threatening emergency and the patient has gone to a hospital that does not have the appropriate service, which is therefore not equipped to treat the emergency, a transfer is necessary.

Consequences ?

This represents a loss of time for the patient whose vital prognosis is engaged, which leads to a reduction in his chances of survival.


I would say that when in doubt, it is particularly important to call the emergency room at number 15 for two reasons: on the one hand, it allows the doctors who take charge of the call to refine the diagnosis of the problem by asking targeted questions.

In a second step, this makes it possible to direct the patient to the hospital or the service best able to take charge of the emergency.

“says Nathalie Assez.


Is the saturation of intensive care units a usual phenomenon?

Fracture, wound: should we wait before going to the emergency room?



, before rushing to the emergency room, you have to ask yourself about:

  • its nature: in general, domestic accidents (kitchen cuts) do not necessarily require an emergency, unlike an attack.

  • its location: a wound in the neck or thorax can be life-threatening

  • its size: the depth and size of the wound are indicators of severity

  • taking medications that may prolong bleeding (such as blood thinners): "

    if you are taking medications that may cause bleeding to continue, whether it is a superficial wound, a kitchen cut or bleeding from nose, do not hesitate to dial 15

    ”, warns Dr Assez.

  • any ocular wound must be the subject of a rapid expertise

In the event of a


, a few questions can help you determine the severity:

  • did I hear a crack?

  • do I have impotence (can't put my foot down or can I walk)?

  • do i have a deformity?


In general, if the patient combines pain and impotence, this requires a visit to the emergency room

", according to Nathalie Assez.

Children and babies: additional precautions?


Unlike adults, in very young children and infants who cannot express themselves, any unusual behavior should alert

", explains Nathalie Assez.

Because parents are particularly anxious when it comes to their children, it can be difficult to recognize an emergency.

Generally, we can refer to the usual behavior of the child in order to better detect risky situations.

For example, crying is a good clue: “

a newborn who never cries and who starts crying continuously must be worrying

,” says the doctor.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-01-16

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