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Recognizing Medical Emergencies

How to Tell if You’re Having a Medical Emergency

When most patients think of a medical emergency, their minds jump to the extreme — being unconscious, having a heart attack, or a fatal wound. While these are all medical emergencies, some conditions may seem less severe, causing patients to delay the life-saving care they desperately need.

Common Signs of a Medical Emergency

Knowing the signs of a medical emergency can save a life. Below is a list of common symptoms which indicate a medical emergency. If you believe you or a loved one is having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately and come into our emergency center as soon as possible for treatment:

  • Fainting, sudden dizziness, weakness.
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath.
  • Chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure.
  • Changes in vision.
  • Confusion or changes in mental status.
  • Sudden or severe pain.
  • Uncontrolled bleeding and/or coughing blood.
  • Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Difficulty speaking.
  • Unusual abdominal pain.

Common Types of Medical Emergencies

If you believe you have any of the following ailments, it’s important to seek emergency medical attention from our team at Quality Care ER as soon as possible.

Seizures and Strokes

A stroke happens when there is a disruption of blood circulation in the brain, while a seizure occurs due to a surge of electrical activity in the brain. Strokes are the fifth top cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States, and 80% of strokes are preventable.

If you think you may be experiencing a seizure or stroke, our 24/7 medical staff will be here to treat your condition and help you find long-term healing.

Cardiovascular Emergencies

Cardiovascular emergencies are among the most serious medical conditions and are typically associated with searing chest pain. Chest pain is characterized by a dull ache, crushing or burning feeling, sharp stabbing pain, or pain that goes through to the neck or shoulders. It is often associated with heart disease but can be a sign of other issues. If you are experiencing chest pain, it is important to seek medical attention immediately in order to identify its true cause.

Shortness of Breath

Whether a symptom of asthma, anxiety, a heart attack, COVID-19, or another respiratory condition — shortness of breath can turn into a serious medical emergency.

Shortness of breath, or feeling “winded,” is also known as dyspnea. It occurs when you struggle to draw a full breath. It can feel like you have recently run a sprint or completed a strenuous activity, even if you have not. The feeling of not being able to get sufficient air into the lungs might persist if you are experiencing shortness of breath.

Fractures and Sprains

Most fractures and sprains heal on their own, but they’re accompanied by excruciating pain — making a trip to the emergency room imperative. While there are many different types of fractures, sprains, and other ailments that could affect your limbs, our emergency team can help comfort you and offer the correct treatment plan.

Abdominal Pain and Appendicitis

Did you know that appendicitis is the most common cause of emergency abdominal surgery in children?

Appendicitis is an infection or inflammation of the appendix and may be caused by various infections such as a virus, bacteria, or parasites in your digestive tract. It also may happen when the appendix is blocked or trapped by mucus or stool. If your child is diagnosed with appendicitis, they typically will receive antibiotics to begin treatment of the infection. In most cases, the treatment for appendicitis is surgery to remove the infected appendix.

If you or your children experience abdominal pain, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.


Moderate cases of dehydration may require a patient to receive fluids via an IV, but severe dehydration is a medical emergency that can be fatal if not treated. Signs of moderate to severe dehydration include:

  • Dizziness or light-headedness.
  • Irritability, delirium, or confusion.
  • Rapid heartbeat and rapid breathing
  • Fainting or unconsciousness

If dehydration is not treated, it can lead to complications such as:

  • Heat injury
  • Urinary and kidney problems
  • Seizures
  • Low blood volume shock


Concussions are a result of a direct hit to the head, though violent shaking to the head or neck can also cause whiplash. When sudden movement forces the brain to move around in the skull, it can cause a chemical change in the brain or brain cells.

Additionally, you do not need to lose consciousness to be diagnosed with a concussion; only about 10 percent of patients who experience a concussion actually lose consciousness at the time of impact.

Common signs of a concussion may include:

  • Confusion or feeling ‘foggy’.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Amnesia.
  • Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head.

Most concussive symptoms resolve quickly and spontaneously. However, some patients experience prolonged symptoms, such as a post-traumatic headache. There is no known treatment for a concussion other than rest.

Post-Traumatic Headaches

A post-traumatic headache typically occurs after a traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion. This means that aching associated with a concussion is actually a post-traumatic headache, but a concussion is not the only cause of a post-traumatic headache. Patients may experience both conditions simultaneously.

Post-traumatic headaches occur due to the muscle tensing after an injury. Veterans and athletes (both professional and amateur) are more prone to TBIs and account for about 75 percent of reported TBI cases. They can result from mild, moderate, or severe injury. Some patients’ blood vessels may narrow, keeping blood from flowing to their head like it normally does.

Serving Patients in Paris & Greenville, TX

Quality Care ER is dedicated to becoming the leader in delivering 24-hour emergency care in Paris, Texas, and the surrounding areas. Our emergency department is a free-standing emergency room not physically attached to a hospital. We provide full-service care for both major and minor injuries and illnesses.

Our medical team is committed to providing exceptional customer service and timely medical care. Call (903) 417-0886 to learn more.