Health care settings are not social venues; this is especially true for an emergency room (ER).

Recently a dear friend’s elderly mother was rushed to the ER with high blood pressure 220/120 from her cardiologist’s office where she had been undergoing a heart stress test. I drove to the ER when I heard as a ‘physician’ friend to advocate on her behalf, something no family member could do. After all, as an ER doc talking to her ER doc flow may be different.

What this post focuses on is who and when is it appropriate to ‘visit’ a patient who is in the ER.

Anyone having a medical crisis does not need to be entertained, distracted or be ‘putting’ out to whoever wants to visit. We go to the ER for quick medical attention, not anyone else’s attention. Quiet rest and interaction with those who can help are important. Medical staff can focus on the patient not walk around and repeat the status to a parade of ‘visitors’.

If you do not have a doctor friend I suggest one person should be agreed upon to be the designated spokesperson to the staff as well as on the patient’s behalf.

Please limit ‘company’ for ER patients. The designated visitor can contact those interested with the patient’s status wither they are reached by phone or out in the waiting area.

Considering this can help both the patient and staff.