Adult Emergency Services

Adult emergency patients are evaluated by a triage nurse in private rooms adjacent to the adult waiting area.  A separate waiting area for patients that are too ill to wait with others offers these individuals a bed until a treatment room is available. A leader in stroke treatment, TGH is the only nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center in Hillsborough County and the first stroke center on Florida’s west coast to receive Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification, the highest national designation, from the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program.  Additionally, our chest pain center has received accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care for achieving a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of heart attack.

When Should You Go to the Emergency Room?

You can prevent an unnecessary and costly emergency room visit by knowing the difference between when it is appropriate to go to the ER and when you should visit an urgent care center or family physician instead. There are a number of resources available to help you understand what action to take in certain health situations. According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, the following medical conditions require a trip to the emergency room:

  1. Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath This may be a sign of an asthma attack or even a heart attack. Difficulty breathing from upper respiratory infections, asthma attacks and pneumonia are especially critical conditions in young children.
  2. Chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure Discomfort or pain like a tight ache, pressure or squeezing in the chest that lasts more than a few minutes could be a sign of a heart attack. These symptoms may also be combined with shortness of breath, nausea and a burning sensation in the chest or stomach.
  3. Fainting, sudden dizziness, weakness, lack of mobility These symptoms, if unexplainable, could be signs of a stroke, heart problems, seizure or dehydration and need to be assessed by a medical professional.
  4. Changes in vision Sudden and short-term loss or changes in vision, such as double vision, could indicate a stroke and individuals should be taken to the ER for further evaluation.
  5. Confusion or changes in mental status Examples include difficulty speaking, unusual fatigue and feeling disoriented. These symptoms could be signs of a stroke, seizure, dehydration or other health issue.
  6. Any sudden or severe pain This could range from a severe headache to severe abdominal pain or a broken bone. Acute shooting pains or heavy discomfort can often be signs of a major health issue.
  7. Uncontrolled bleeding If bleeding does not stop after applying direct pressure for 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea These symptoms can lead to dehydration, which can cause additional health issues if left untreated.
  9. Coughing or vomiting blood This could indicate a number of problems including a bleeding ulcer, tumors in the stomach or esophagus, or a serious lung disease.
  10. Suicidal or homicidal feelings When an individual with a mental disorder exhibits this behavior, they become a danger to themselves and others around them. Be sure to let medical professionals know any medications an individual may be taking.

The following health issues are better suited for a visit to your physician or an urgent care center:

  • Toothaches
  • Sprains
  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Minor cuts
  • Sunburns or minor burns
  • Fevers
  • Insect stings, unless breathing is impaired
  • Earache