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If you or a loved one isn't feeling well, how do you know if you should go to the emergency room? In this timeless Patient Power program, host Andrew Schorr is joined by Dr. John Milne to discuss emergency medicine, when you should visit the ER and when you should wait. Dr. Milne is the Co-Director of the emergency room at the Swedish Medical Center campus in Issaquah.

The discussion begins with Dr. Milne giving advice on how to approach the need for an emergency room visit. He talks about resources and steps to take when making your decision. The interview then moves on to addressing common conditions such as chest pain, signs of stroke, asthma and allergic reactions. Dr. Milne explains the ABCs: airway, breathing, circulation, which help one decide if an ER visit is critical and when it is okay to just wait. Chronic conditions are also common reasons to visit the ER. Dr. Milne details the importance of communicating medications you are on, allergies and other conditions you may be living with to your ER physician so they can provide you with the best care.

Dr. Milne closes the program with a discussion of the key points about the emergency room, how to be prepared and when to trust your instincts. He also talks about the new facility - the emergency room at the Swedish Medical Center campus in Issaquah is equipped with 14 beds, a staff of seasoned emergency room nurses and physicians all board-certified in emergency medicine. If you’ve ever had doubts about whether or not to call for help or visit the emergency room, this program can provide you with tools to take appropriate action.

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Produced in association with Swedish Medical Center


Andrew Schorr:

Good morning, Western Washington, and I know all the ships at sea. I'd love to be out on your yacht with you today on this beautiful Sunday morning on a long holiday weekend if you're out there. Sounds like a great thing. I'm going bike riding later I think with one of my kids. It will be a wonderful day to do that. And as always we're talking about should you have a health concern how do you become a smarter patient. That's what this show week after week is all about.

So a couple of things today we're going to be talking about, one importantly in just a minute, we're going to help you understand if you're on the long holiday weekend and you or someone in your family starts not feeling well how do you know if you should go to the emergency room. Now, I don't mean you're in a car accident, oh, my god, that would be terrible, or you cut yourself and bleeding everywhere, obviously you should call 911. You're feeling certain kinds of chest pain that we'll discuss, call 911. Do not pass go. That's not what we're talking about.

What we're talking about are things likely to come up probably for any family along the way, and that is you're just not sure. You're not feeling well. You have at that weird pain. Your kid's neck is kind of stiff, which has happened in our family in the middle of the night. You've had a chronic condition for a long time and now you're feeling something a little different, what do you do? And your doctor's out of town this weekend. He's on his yacht or he's camping up in the mountains, what do you do. And on this weekend you've got that family reunion happening and you really don't want to go down to wherever to be in the emergency room for several hours when you're not sure, but maybe you should go. That's what we're talking about today.

In the studio with me is a very busy emergency room doctor from Swedish Medical Center and from their Issaquah campus, Dr. John Milne. John, welcome to Patient Power.

Dr. Milne:

Good morning. It's a pleasure to be here.

Andrew Schorr:

John, so you've been an emergency room doc a number of years, and now you've got this wonderful facility that Swedish has established there in Issaquah as they've had this tremendous population growth and then all those folks camping. There you are, you're listening, right, from the campsite, up there in the Cascades. You're a facility that's very close to them where they can come, and I know you have a brand new facility that can help them.

Dr. Milne:

Yeah. We're very proud of our facility that we were table to build in Issaquah. We opened March 1st. We're located right across from the state park in Issaquah on Northwest Sammamish Road. We're a full service emergency department. We're open 24 hours a day. We're staffed with board certified emergency physicians, and we're there to be able to take care of any problem you might need to bring to us.

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