Ask a Specialist: What to expect in the emergency department

Nobody plans to go to the Emergency Department , so find out now what to expect if you need to go in. When do you call 9-1-1?  What happens in the ED?  Who will treat you?


Dr. Ronald Kuroda, emergency medicine physician and medical director of The Queen’s Medical Center – West O`ahu, explained in this Ask a Specialist that the ED he works at has now been open for over a year, and from the moment it opened, there was an incredible community need. In its first year, the ED cared for more than 40,000 patients!


He says it’s time to call 911 when you’re having chest pains or other signs of a heart attack; weakness, numbness, or difficulty speaking which could be signs of stroke; or trauma or bleeding that you cannot stop with direct pressure.


In the ED, he says one can expect the following timeline:

  • Checked in by registrar and nurse
  • Evaluation for unstable condition
  • Placed in triage order based on vital signs, symptoms
  • Sickest people seen before others who may have arrived earlier
  • Be seen by emergency medicine provider
  • Could be physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant – all have advanced training to evaluate
  • Entire team will be used to assess and treat you
  • You will be told if your condition needs hospitalization or if care can be done at home or at your doctor’s office
  • Wait for test results before you leave


A visit to the ED is a high-resource evaluation. An entire team services each patient that comes to the ED.


Your team consists of your provider, a registrar, one to four nurses, one to three Emergency Technicians, the department secretary, phlebotomists, x-ray technician, CT technician, other lab and radiology staff, social workers, environmental services staff, and a chaplain if requested. These people are all focused on giving you the best appropriate Emergency medical care.


To learn more about what happens in the Emergency Department, join Dr. Kuroda for The Queen’s Medical Center – West O`ahu’s free Speaking of Health lecture on “9-1-1 … Is This a Medical Emergency?”  Catch it on Thursday, August 20, from 6 – 7 pm at Queen’s – West O`ahu. To register for this event, click here.


To learn more about the services offered by Queen’s – West O`ahu, click here.


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