The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

Personal experience: emergency medical care in the USA

Nina Zotova



The topic around which immigrants have the most questions and fears: what to do when you need urgent help in America? Scary stories are associated with bills and the refusal of insurance companies to pay for emergency calls - this isreally happens. How to act correctly in order not to get into an unpleasant situation?

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We are accustomed to the fact that at home an ambulance can be called at high temperature and pressure, with pain and injuries of any nature, and sometimes the ambulance's arrival was not justified at all, except for the convenience of the patient - we did not want to look for a way to get to the doctor ... In the USA it is severely punished dollar. To prevent this, it is important to remember a few features.

The first thing you need to get used to after moving to America: here you can not call a doctor at home! Neither for an adult, nor for a child. Therefore, if you need medical care, you need to plan a visit to the doctor. However, there are some nuances. Here are three main options for how to deal with a problem.

1. Appeal to the attending physician / pediatrician and some narrow specialists in the coming 1-2 days.

You understand that a visit to the doctor is necessary during 24-28 hours. In this case, you go to your general practitioner / pediatrician or to a narrow doctor in some particular cases (less often).

As a rule, there is always the opportunity to get an appointment on the day of the illness, if you indicate the need for an urgent visit. For example, a child has a fever, a cough - a typical acute respiratory disease, but which causes you to be anxious and you want to appear as a pediatrician. Call the office, explain the situation - you appoint a reception until the end of the day.

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2. You are contacting URGENT CARE. We go there in such cases:

  • the problem caught you on the weekends (the example of a child’s ORZ is higher) and you are not ready to wait for everyday life - as a rule, therapists and pediatricians do not work on weekends;
  • you got a serious injury, but the bill does not go for a minute, i.e. you do not need a bullet to fly to an ambulance;
  • you have mild pain, again - not an ambulance case, but you cannot wait for an appointment with a therapist.

The main feature of the appeal to URGENT CARE, which must be remembered: your life is not in danger. For example, the cut is not fatal, you do not lose consciousness, you do not have a stroke or a heart attack, you do not suffocate, the pain is tolerable.

Here are all the signs that lead you not to the ambulance, but to URGENT CARE. Of course, a situation may arise that from there they will still send you to an ambulance, but this will already be the decision of the doctor and you will not incur financial responsibility for it.

Here is a list of the reasons most insurance claims:

  • non-hazardous injuries;
  • shallow cuts without serious blood loss;
  • non-hazardous breathing problems;
  • X-ray, ultrasound or tests for non-hazardous reasons are necessary
  • inflammation / redness of the eye;
  • heat;
  • simple fractures or suspicions of them;
  • tolerable back problems;
  • cough;
  • redness, inflammation of the skin;
  • infection;
  • non-dangerous diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration.

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3. You urgently need an ambulance - EMERGENCY. This item should be strictly divided into two cases:

  1. You can reach the ambulance yourself. Take a taxi or ask someone to give you a ride to the emergency room emergency room.
  2. You need to call 911. Call yourself or help you do it.

How to understand, you have the first case or the second: if you really see a critical situation or it happened somewhere outside the house, then the emergency call will be justified. Such situations clearly require a call to 911:

  • open fractures and serious injuries;
  • loss of consciousness;
  • gunshot wounds and deep cuts;
  • high temperature in a child up to 3 months;
  • severe bleeding;
  • poisoning;
  • problems with pregnancy;
  • serious injury to the head, neck, or back;
  • acute abdominal pain;
  • acute chest pain and breathing problems;
  • heart attack symptoms;
  • stroke symptoms.

The physical difference between EMERGENCY and URGENT CARE is that the former are located at large hospitals, they are ready to undergo surgery in the shortest possible time, to carry out any diagnostics - to save lives.

URGENT CARE is able to provide first aid and conduct a survey of an undying patient, whose life is not in danger.

Hope you don’t have to go anywhere from the above.

The original column is published in the author's personal blog.

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