Hospital and freestanding emergency rooms (ERs) in Virginia
HCA Virginia's hospitals treat more than 250,000 patients each year in our ERs and intensive care units (ICUs). This includes pediatric ERs and ICUs (PICUS), neonatal ICUs (NICUS) and freestanding ERs.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.
Our emergency care services
Some of the emergency resources and services we provide include:
- Intensive care—Our ICUs are designed to deliver continuous care and monitoring. This is typically for seriously ill or injured patients, including those who are recovering from advanced surgeries:
- Pediatric ERs—Our pediatric ERs are specially staffed and equipped to care for children's medical emergencies.
- Trauma centers—Many of our ERs are also designated trauma centers. This means they are able to provide advanced, dedicated diagnostics and treatments for traumatic injuries and illnesses.
When to go to the ER
Sometimes it can be hard to decide whether or not you should visit the ER. Our guide can help you decide:
Call 911 right away if you have chest pain that is crushing or squeezing or comes with any of these other symptoms of a heart attack:
- Dizziness (especially for women)
- Discomfort in the neck, shoulder or upper back (especially for women)
- Discomfort in your gut (especially for women)
- Fast or irregular pulse
- Nausea or vomiting (especially for women)
- Pain that spreads from the chest to the neck, jaw or arms
- Shortness of breath (especially for women)
- Unusual fatigue (especially for women)
Concussion or head injury
If you have hit your head and have any of these symptoms, you should go to the ER:
- Any period (even briefly) of unconsciousness, amnesia or memory loss
- Feeling dazed or confused
- Slurred speech
- Worsening or severe headache
Flu, "stomach flu" or severe colds
The flu virus and "the common cold" are very common and do not normally require a visit to the ER. However, go to the ER with the flu or a cold if you also have:
- Complications, such as signs of pneumonia
- Severe loss of body fluids (dehydration)
- Trouble breathing
- Vomiting that can’t be controlled
Additionally, talk to your doctor about what to watch out for if you are part of a high-risk population—such as infants, seniors, pregnant women and those who have compromised immune systems. Flu and colds may be more serious conditions for you in these cases.
Severe stomach pain
Stomach pain is the most common reason patients visit the ER. You should seek immediate medical attention if your stomach pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- Dark or black stool
- High fever
- Inability to eat without nausea or vomiting
- Irregular heartbeat
- Pain in your chest, neck or shoulder
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath or dizziness
- Hardness and/or tenderness to the touch
- Vomit containing blood
If you have severe pain, especially in your lower right stomach, side or back, or if your pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you should seek immediate medical treatment:
- Blood in the urine or pain during urination or have had a recent urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
Seek emergency medical treatment for respiratory distress if you have:
- An inability to speak comfortably and sustain your voice while at rest
- Breathing difficulties accompanied by signs of a heart attack
- Breathing difficulties when you lie flat
- Breathlessness that doesn’t stop after 30 minutes of rest
- Coughing that includes blood
- Noisy, high-pitched and/or rapid wheezing
- Numbness, especially on one side of the body, or other signs of a stroke
- Severe shortness of breath that affects your ability to function
Other pain in the body and limbs
Severe pain lasting only a few seconds may be nothing to worry about unless it’s recurring. If severe pain persists for more than a few minutes, you should seek medical attention regardless of other symptoms.
For more information about our primary care services or for help finding a doctor, call our free, 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse line.
What to expect in the ER
Whether or not you have insurance or are able to pay, you will be medically screened, evaluated and stabilized in the ER. However, please be aware that pain cannot be treated without a physician order.
In general, the steps of care in the ER include:
- Triage and registration—This process is to understand your symptoms, assess your condition and take you to a room, if needed and available.
- Examination and treatment—When it is your turn, you'll receive a doctor's examination and further tests, if needed. Then, your doctor will discuss treatment with you.
- Discharge or admittance—Your physician will determine if you can be released from the ER or need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment or recovery.
What to bring to the ER
If possible, bring these with you to the ER:
- A copy of results from any recent medical tests
- A responsible adult or phone number for someone to contact
- Care preferences and restrictions
- List of known allergies
- List of medications you take
- List of recent medical procedures
When to expect treatment in the ER
Those who have life-threatening illnesses or injuries will be the first to be treated in the ER, followed by seriously ill or unstable patients. All other patients will be seen in the order in which they arrived.
Before you leave the ER
Be sure to ask any questions you may have before you are discharged and keep all paperwork, instructions and medicines, if you receive any.
After you are discharged from the ER
If you have a primary care provider listed in your medical record, we will give them a copy of your visit summary. Contact them after your visit to the ER.
We can help you find a primary care doctor if you don't have one.
Text to find out ER wait times near you
Check the top of our website pages or text "ER" to 32222 to find out the wait times of the HCA Virginia ER closest to you.
Note: Message and data rates apply. ER wait times are approximate and provided for informational purposes only.
About our ER wait times
Our posted ER wait times are approximate and provided for informational purposes only. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.
The ER wait times seen on our website represent the time it takes to see a qualified medical professional. This is defined as a doctor of medicine (MD), doctor of osteopathy (DO), physician assistant (PA) or advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP).
ER wait times represent a four-hour rolling average that is updated every 30 minutes.