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6 Common Emergency Room Questions, Answered

August 18, 2021 Posted in: Emergency Care

In the event of an emergency, the last thing you want to do is spend time sitting in the waiting room of an ER. The most time-sensitive cases, like heart attacks, receive care immediately, while people with less severe conditions, like fractures, might spend hours waiting for care. However, it may be possible to minimize your wait, and we’ll show you how. 

Should I go to an urgent care or an emergency room? 

An urgent care clinic is best suited for minor injuries and common illnesses, including, but not limited to:


However, urgent care clinics often aren’t equipped to handle major injuries, illnesses, and traumas. If you experience any of the following, an emergency room is an appropriate place to seek care: 


If you have any doubt as to whether you should go to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic for your condition, opt for the ER. 

How long is the wait at an ER? 

According to Texas Health Resources, the average wait time for an emergency room at a high-volume hospital in Texas is about 298 minutes (4 hours and 58 minutes). Of course, this time varies depending on a number of factors. 


You may be wondering, why is the wait so long? It can take this amount of time because every patient goes through a process called triage, during which a nurse or medical professional evaluates each patient’s health and determines how life-threatening their condition is. Patients experiencing a severe medical event, like a heart attack or stroke, will receive care first over someone whose injury is not time-sensitive, like a broken arm. If more and more patients come in experiencing life-threatening events while you wait, you’ll have to stay even longer. 

What is the best time to go to an emergency room?

In theory, the best time to go to the ER is when there will be no wait, but this is impossible to predict. Additionally, if you are experiencing a time-sensitive, life-threatening emergency, the best time to go is as soon as possible. 

How can I avoid a long wait at the emergency room? 

If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, do not worry about the wait at the ER and call 911 immediately. If your condition will not worsen if you wait a little while to go, like a low-grade fever, you can use InQuicker to minimize your wait and spend the time before your appointment at home. All it takes is three steps: 

  • Select your ER location.
  • Choose a time that you want to come in from the list of available slots. 
  • Complete the check-in form. 

Where is my nearest ER? 

Knowing where to go when minutes matter is essential. Locate your nearest St. Joseph Health emergency location and bookmark our InQuicker page for easy access today.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a non-life-threatening emergency, use InQuicker today to minimize your wait:

Shorten Your ER Wait Time

Select a Location and time to schedule your ER visit.

Our online check-in feature minimizes your wait time at the ER and maximizes your time with our expert care team.

If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911 for immediate assistance.

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