Emergency Department

Denver Health's Adult Emergency Department cares for more than 55,000 people each year. We serve nearly 110,000 patients annually including the Adult Urgent Care Center and Pediatric Emergency Department.

Your Arrival

Upon your arrival to the emergency department you will be rapidly assessed by a highly trained nurse to determine the seriousness of your illness or injury. Emergency Department staff will take your pulse and oxygen saturation initially, while obtaining pertinent medical information.  This process may be followed by further medical screening based upon the presenting illness or injury.  After being assessed by the nurse, you or your family member will be approached by a registration clerk. The information provided to them allows us to begin care and order any necessary tests in a timely manner. 

Patients are seen by a provider or placed in a room based upon the severity of their illness or injury. While everyone´s reason for coming to the emergency department is important, patients who have the most serious medical conditions are seen first. This means that patients with less serious injuries may have to wait while more critically ill or injured patients are cared for– even if they arrived at the emergency department at the same time or after these individuals.

If your condition requires you to be seen immediately or prohibits you from remaining safely in the waiting room, you will be escorted to a treatment room. To allow for privacy and manage our space constraints, only one visitor is allowed at a time.  If a treatment room is not available, you will be asked to remain in the waiting room until one can be prepared for you. We request that you do not eat or drink anything prior to receiving care as this may interfere with tests the doctor may need to evaluate you.

Your Examination

When you are escorted back to a treatment room, you may be asked to undress and put on a hospital gown (which ties in the back) so the doctor may examine you. You may also be attached to a monitoring device so that our nurses can monitor your vital signs from any area of the emergency department. Your nurse and doctor will visit you throughout your visit; both are highly skilled professionals.   The doctor who sees you is specially trained in emergency medicine and will examine you as soon as possible. Your care is extremely important to us, but please remember that if patients arrive whose injuries or illnesses need immediate treatment, your treatment may be delayed.

Tests

Your visit to the ED may require tests to be completed. The doctor will order any tests or X-rays he/she feels are necessary to thoroughly assess your complaint. Some tests require blood to be drawn in your room, or you may have to go to another department for X-rays or CT Scans. A technician will accompany you to these areas. If at any time you do not understand a procedure, please ask your doctor or nurse. Obtaining the results of the tests may take time. Once the results from your tests are received, the doctor will explain them to you. The results of these tests may require further testing or care.

Test Results

Tests are frequently needed to help your doctor understand what is causing your discomfort, and decide how best to help you. For you to get the best care, it is important that you wait for your test results. Estimated wait times are listed below. We appreciate your patience.

Labs- 1.5 hours
X-Ray- 2 hours
CT Scan- 4 hours

Treatment

Depending on your illness or injury, your treatment may take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. The doctor will decide when you can be discharged safely from the emergency department, or if you need to be admitted to the hospital. The emergency provider may speak with your family doctor or another specialist about your current treatment and ongoing medical needs.  Sometimes calls to other providers or specialists can cause delays, but they may be essential in ensuring you receive the most appropriate care. Denver Health´s emergency department team is here to provide quality care to you and your family.

If you are admitted, meaning that you need to stay in the hospital for a period of time, you will be taken to your hospital room as soon as all the arrangements have been made. If a room is not immediately available, you may be required to wait in the emergency department. Please ask if you or your family have any questions.  

Discharge

We encourage you to ask questions and review your take-home instructions. If you are discharged, the nurse will provide you with a copy of your aftercare instructions. The aftercare instructions will include any new prescriptions that have been written for you, as well as things you need to know about your illness or injury.  If prescriptions are written they may be provided to you at the time of discharge or sent directly to your pharmacy for pick up. The nurse will answer any questions you have about your care and treatment. Please keep these instructions as you are responsible for your own care after you leave the emergency department.

Our Emergency Medicine Team

For a full list of provider bios and details, use our Find a Provider search.