Understanding the Many Tasks Taken on by ER Physicians

Emergency care physicians are specially trained to handle the unique needs of emergent patients. You can hear more about the many responsibilities of emergency care physicians when you watch this featured video, which is an interview with the Medical Director of Emergency Medicine at Regional Medical Center of San Jose . She explains that in addition to providing life-saving interventions, ER doctors have the skills and experience necessary to handle a broad range of non-life-threatening medical emergencies.


One of the tasks that ER staff members are responsible for is coordinating a patient’s care with emergency medical service (EMS) personnel, typically before the patient even arrives at the hospital. When EMS providers are called to a patient with a life-threatening emergency, they quickly evaluate that patient’s medical status and relay this information to the ER team. This allows the ER doctors to be prepared to immediately initiate evaluation and stabilization procedures to save that patient’s life.


Before ER doctors can administer treatments, they must confirm the patient’s diagnosis. For example, they cannot assume that a patient’s stroke is caused by a blood clot and administer clot-busting drugs until this diagnosis is confirmed. This is because hemorrhagic strokes are caused by bleeding on the brain and are treated differently.


ER doctors can stabilize critically ill or injured patients in a number of ways. They might use a defibrillator to restore a patient’s heartbeat or they might provide respiratory support to patients who are having trouble breathing. Sometimes, stabilizing a patient might involve administering intravenous fluids or drugs.


Once the patient’s condition is under control, he or she may be referred for additional treatment. The patient might be referred to the intensive care unit (ICU) or to the operating room (OR). In less serious circumstances, a patient at the ER might receive treatment for a minor medical problem and be discharged with instructions to schedule a follow-up visit with the primary care physician or a specialist.

The newly remodeled and expanded emergency care department at Regional Medical Center of San Jose facilitates our patients’ prompt and compassionate treatment. Our emergency care team has developed close relationships with EMS personnel throughout San Jose to coordinate care and support rapid medical evaluations. Visit us online or call a registered nurse at (888) 762-8881 for general information about our hospital services, which include breast care, stroke care, and heart health services.

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