Planning becomes more important with the seriousness of the situation. Use these straightforward guidelines to make an often stressful and scary situation a lot easier.


  • If possible, call ahead to let emergency room staff know you are coming.
  • Call your doctor, if possible. He or she may meet you at the emergency room or call in important information.
  • If you think you may have to wait to be seen by a doctor, take the checklists below and your medical records with you. While you are waiting you can:
    • Use the Self-Care Checklist to help you think through the problem and report symptoms to the doctor.
    • Use the Ask-the-Doctor Checklist to organize questions for the doctor.
    • Use your home medical records to prepare to discuss your medications, past test results, or treatments. Information about your allergies, medications, and health conditions may be critical.

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