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In an emergency

If you get very sick or badly hurt and need medical care right away, go to a hospital emergency room (ER). There, doctors and nurses can help you even if you have no insurance or ability to pay. If you need medical help where you are, call 9-1-1. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) will come to you to give basic medical care and usually will drive you in an ambulance to the ER for more care.

Once at the ER, you may need to wait to be seen by a doctor or nurse. ERs do not treat patients on a first-come, first-serve basis. Rather, ERs treat people with the most serious health problems first. So, you may need to wait a long time before it's your turn to be seen. Be patient and keep in mind that you cannot be turned away before you have been seen.

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Content last updated: May 18, 2010.

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