Recognize Emergencies

According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, the following are warning signs of a medical emergency:

  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath or choking
  • Continuous bleeding
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood
  • Suicidal or homicidal feelings
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Upper abdominal pain or pressure
  • Change in mental status (such as unusual behavior, confusion, difficulty arousing from sleep)
  • Head or spine injury
  • Sudden, severe pain anywhere in the body
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness, or change in vision
  • Ingestion of a poisonous substance
  • Sudden injury such as a motor vehicle accident, burns or smoke inhalation, near drowning, deep or large wound, etc.

What to do in an emergency:

  • Remain calm.
  • Start CPR or rescue breathing if necessary and you know the proper technique.
  • Know the location and quickest route to the nearest emergency department.
  • Keep emergency phone numbers posted by the phone. Everyone in your household, including children, should know when and how to call these numbers. These numbers include police, fire department, poison control center, and ambulance services (in many areas, 911) as well as your doctor’s number and contact numbers for work,  a neighbor, nearby friend or relative.
  • Know at which hospital(s) your doctor practices and, if possible, go to that facility in an emergency.
  • Upon arriving at an emergency room, the patient will be immediately evaluated. Life- or limb-threatening conditions will be treated first. Patients with other conditions may have to wait.
  • Wear a medical identification tag if you have a chronic condition
  • Obtain a personal emergency response system if you are elderly, especially if you live alone.
  • Place a semiconscious or unconscious person in the recovery position until the ambulance arrives. Do NOT move the person, however, if there has been or may have been a neck injury.

Call your local emergency number (such as 911) for an ambulance if:

  • The person's condition is life-threatening (such as a heart attack or severe allergic reaction).
  • Moving the person could cause further injury (for example, in case of a neck injury or motor vehicle accident).
  • Distance or traffic conditions might cause a delay in getting the person to the hospital.
  • The person needs the skills or equipment of paramedics.
  • The person's condition could become life threatening on the way to the hospital (for example, shortness of breath).

Helpful tips on when to use the ER or Urgent Care: 

Patients often seek the aid of an emergency department for minor illnesses or injuries that could otherwise be treated more efficiently and economically at a St. John Urgent Care center. They’re conveniently located in Tulsa at 1717-A S. Utica Avenue and 8131 S. Memorial Drive, and in Sand Springs at 402 Morrow Road.

  • Emergency care should be used for severe chest pains and accidents or illnesses that are matters of life and death.
  • St. John Urgent Care services should be used if you have an illness or injury that requires medical attention, but is not life threatening. Urgent care is recommended if you are unable to make an appointment with your family doctor or for after-hours care.

Urgent Care should be used ror:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma attack (minor)
  • Cold, flu, fever
  • Cough
  • Fractures
  • Minor fever
  • Insect bites
  • Nausea
  • Minor burns
  • Minor cuts/lacerations
  • Minor head injury
  • Pink eye
  • Rash
  • Sore throat
  • Sprains
  • Stitches

Emergency care should be used for:

  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Compound fractures (bone visible)
  • Dizziness
  • Heart attack
  • High fever or fever in newborns
  • Ingestion of poisons or obstructive objects
  • Major head injury
  • Seizures
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe asthma attack
  • Severe burns
  • Shock
  • Stroke
  • Snake bites
  • Unconscious or catatonic state
  • Uncontrollable bleeding