Top 5 things that send students to the ER

The most common reasons students go to the ER include chest pain, abdominal pain, head injuries, severe lacerations and musculoskeletal injuries, Dr. Lisa Dannemiller the interim chief university physician at University Health Services said.

“We refer between 60 to 70 students to the ER, by car or squad, per semester for the last two years,” she said.

The Top Five Reasons Why Students Get Sent to the ER: 

  1. Chest pain

“Our most common referral for chest pain would be a pulmonary embolism,” Dannemiller said. “Which is a blood clot in the lungs, that is associated with birth control pills.”

Acid reflux and chest wall pain are also common causes of chest pain, Dannemiller said.

  1. Abdominal pain

Appendicitis is a common abdominal pain students experience.

“It’s hard to detect for sure if pain in the right lower quadrant is appendicitis or an ovarian cyst,” Dannemiller said. “You need some type of ultrasound or cat scan to evaluate,” so you would likely be sent to the ER.

  1. Head injuries

“It’s mostly cat scans looking to see if they have any bleeding around or in the brain,” Dannemiller said. 

Not every head injury or concussion needs a cat scan. Criteria that doctors look at include falling from a high distance or inability to remember the episodes that led up to the incident, she said. 

  1. Severe laceration

 “A severe cut that is deep and may need internal and external stitches or sutures, or is a more complicated wound,” Dannemiller said.

A lot of these injuries occur from people falling off of their bikes or skateboards.

  1. Musculoskeletal injury

This includes a bone break or fracture and may require surgery, Dannemiller said. 

“Some can be complicated, (where) the bone is displaced and needs to be put back into correct alignment,” she said. “This often will need an orthopedic consult in the ER.”

Dannemiller advised people to avoid smoking, practice weight control and follow a healthy diet as ways to keep your body and mind healthy, and to stay out of the ER.

“(Only) use the emergency room for emergency situations like uncontrollable pain,” Dannemiller said. “Avoid the emergency room for minor things (like) a cold.”

The DeWeese Health Center has a Flash Clinic available to students who need health assistance. There are also minute clinics and urgent cares available in the community.

UHS Medical Clinic Appointment Hours – Fall/Spring

Monday – Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Thursday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Friday: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Closed Daily: Noon – 1 p.m.

New UHS FlashClinic (Lower Level) Walk-In Hours:

Monday – Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Thursday : 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Contact Becca Sagaris at [email protected].