Emergencies are never planned. But when they happen, it’s comforting to know that a high-quality emergency department (ED) is close to you. Our ED provides convenient access to comprehensive care for those who are injured or critically ill.
Staffed by specially-trained doctors and nurses, the ED also has access to specialists who are on-call 24 hours a day. Together, this team of health care professionals works to treat you and your medical emergency.
If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and have only mild symptoms – and you do not have difficulty breathing – you can schedule a COVID-19 test at a designated test location. The Emergency Department is NOT the place to get a COVID-19 test UNLESS you are experiencing breathing problems or other severe symptoms.
Going to an Emergency Department with mild or no symptoms may create a long wait time for you to be seen and COVID-19 test results do not come back more quickly – they still will take one, two, or more days.
Get more information or find a testing location near you.
For a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department. For immediate help with a mental health crisis, call 988 for the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
What to Expect at UPMC Shadyside's Emergency Department
Quality care takes time. The length of your stay may depend on your symptoms, illness, and whether you have to be admitted to the hospital. Also, if the emergency physician consults with a specialist or you have special tests and x-rays performed, your stay may be longer.
When You Arrive to the Emergency Department
When you arrive, a member of the ED staff will ask you some questions. Your answers help the staff member decide how serious your condition is. This is called triage and will help determine which patient needs to be treated first. In addition, staff will take a personal and medical history, and will check your vital signs, including pulse, temperature, and blood pressure.
When You are Taken into an Exam Room
To prepare for the doctor's exam, you might be asked to undress and change into a hospital gown. You also might be attached to monitoring devices. Periodically, nurses and doctors will visit you, but these devices help our staff keep a close and constant eye on you.
The doctor may want to have tests or x-rays performed. Some tests may require you to go to another department. If you must leave the ED, a member of our staff will take you.
Please also keep in mind that it often takes time for the results of tests or x-rays to become available. As soon as your results are available, your doctor will explain the findings to you. If patients require more advanced care, they can receive initial treatment and stabilization, and then be transferred to a hospital that specializes in the treatment of their condition.
Your Emergency Treatment at UPMC Shadyside
Depending on your injury or illness, your treatment may be simple or complex. Your treatment may consist of splints, bandages, or intravenous (IV) and other medications and can take a few minutes or several hours. The doctor will always discuss your treatment with you or your family. If at any time you do not understand your treatment, please ask for more information from the nurses or doctor.
The doctor determines if it is best for you to be discharged home or admitted to the hospital. If you are discharged to go home, the nurse will explain your instructions and prescriptions and answer any questions about your care or treatment. If you are admitted to the hospital, staff will take you to your room as soon as it is available.