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Isn't the closest emergency department always the best choice?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Going to the wrong emergency department could prove fatal—if, say, they don't have the equipment that you or your loved one needs. The closest emergency room should only be the immediate go-to choice when life or death depends solely on speed of treatment. The EMT or paramedic will let you know if this is the deal. In many cases, however, it's worth driving an extra 50 minutes to a better-equipped emergency department than getting quicker treatment at one with fewer capabilities, believe it or not.

For example, if you're having a heart attack or stroke, you need to go to an emergency department that can perform an immediate angioplasty (a procedure that opens a clogged heart artery) or a thrombolysis of a cerebral occlusion (a procedure that does ditto for ditto, except in the brain) within 1 hour, as this might save your life.

When researching the emergency departments in your area, don't just limit your search to hospitals. Learn if there's a 24-hour urgent care or walk-in clinic in your vicinity; if it can handle your emergency, going there could be faster and cheaper.
YOU: The Smart Patient: An Insider's Handbook for Getting the Best Treatment

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YOU: The Smart Patient: An Insider's Handbook for Getting the Best Treatment

Everyone needs to become a smart patient. In fact, in the worst cases, your life may even depend on it. Number one bestselling authors and doctors Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz have written this...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.