Who Would Need an Orthopedic Emergency Hospital?

Who Would Need an Orthopedic Emergency Hospital?

In this life, sometimes medical emergencies happen. For the most part, that means a visit to a general hospital so you can get looked at by one of the emergency room doctors. But what is one to do when they have an emergency that requires the help of a specialized medical professional?

Well, you’d need to be seen at a specialized medical hospital. There are a lot of these, but the one that we’ll be looking at today is the orthopedic emergency hospital. This is probably one of the more common types of specialized hospitals that you can come across.

But, who would actually need to see this kind of specialist? More importantly, could you be in need of seeing this kind of specialist? Possibly, but odds are if you did need the help of an orthopedic practitioner, you’d be better served by an appointment than an emergency room visit.

So, what would constitute an emergency in the orthopedic world? Who would need to see an orthopedic doctor or surgeon at 2:45 AM on a Tuesday? These are the questions that we’re hoping to answer in today’s article so you can know once and for all.

What Does an Orthopedic Doctor Do?

There is a bit of confusion in the world about what exactly an orthopedic doctor is and what they actually do. It’s understandable, “orthopedic” is one of those vaguely medical-sounding words that you’ve heard tossed around in your life at some point or another.

You might be thinking that an orthopedic doctor is a foot doctor because of the widespread availability of orthopedic insoles. Well, a foot doctor is called a podiatrist, so not quite. Fortunately, that guess would only be about half wrong because orthopedic doctors do work with feet.

They also work with a lot of other things throughout the human body, but they specialize in a few specific things for example:

  • Spine
  • Joints
  • Ligaments
  • Ankles
  • Wrists
  • Elbows
  • Hands
  • Tendons
  • Muscles
  • Sports therapy (depending on the orthopedic doctor for reasons that are made obvious by the rest of this list.)

Orthopedic doctors are doctors that mostly deal with the musculoskeletal system. So, if you’re having issues with the bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, or muscles in your feet and ankles you’d see an orthopedic doctor, but if you’re dealing with other issues with your feet and ankles you’d see a podiatrist.

There are some orthopedic doctors that just do general practice, so they look at the entire musculoskeletal system, while other orthopedic doctors are even more specialized. Those doctors usually specialize in things like:

  • Wrists and hands.
  • Feet and ankles.
  • Hip and knee
  • Shoulder and elbow
  • Sport medicine

Regardless of if the doctor is extra specialized or the normal amount of specialization for this type of doctor, they’ll still be able to help with the prevention and treatment of diseases that have an impact on the musculoskeletal system as a whole. In most cases, you will need a general practice doctor to refer you to this kind of specialist.

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Why Would Someone Need to Visit an Orthopedic Emergency Room?

As we mentioned earlier, medical emergencies happen. It’s so common that you could easily find a packed emergency room any day of the week in most parts of the country, and that’s just for emergencies that require the help of a general practice doctor.

When you have specialized conditions, you need a specialized doctor. If you have a specialized emergency, the same is true. There are a lot of conditions that could require you to see an emergency orthopedic doctor, but before we list them off we’d like to give a warning.

If you’re squeamish or faint of heart you won’t want to look up the vast majority of these conditions. If you think you might have something wrong with you, go see a doctor. We aren’t here to try and diagnose any of your issues.

If you’re especially squeamish, this list might be a little hard to get through even just reading the titles. If you don’t think you can handle it, feel free to skip past it. We’ll go over a much more generalized list of reasons right after.

Still here? Cool, so, there are a handful of things that are considered emergencies in the world of orthopedic medicine and if you end up with one of these conditions, you’ll be very happy that you have the ability to see an orthopedic doctor 24-hour a day, seven days a week. Here are just a few:

  • Hip dislocations that pose a risk of AVN.
  • Acute Septic Arthritis.
  • Compartment syndrome.
  • Neural compromise, especially when caused by a spinal injury.
  • Exsanguinating pelvic fractures.
  • Open fractures or dislocations.
  • Vascular injuries such as knee dislocations.
  • Tendon ruptures.
  • Re-injury of damaged bone or tissues.

Is anyone else weirdly aware of their bones and tissues right now? Anyways, for those of us that needed to skip the list, something is considered an orthopedic emergency if something has happened that could cause permanent injury to the bone or soft tissues in your body. When that happens it is incredibly painful.

If you have an emergency that requires an orthopedic doctor or surgeon, odds are you’ll find out rather quickly. There are actually just a few simple steps that are usually followed in these cases, and we’ll cover them really quickly so you can know what to expect if it ever happens to you:

  1. The injury occurs.
  2. You find your way to the emergency room.
    1. You could do this by a few methods:
  • Ambulance.
  • Friend’s car.
  • Taxi.
  • Uber/Lyft.
  1. Depending on the severity of the emergency, this could go one of two ways from here:
    1. If it’s a big emergency, you will:
  • Be rushed into the hospital by paramedics.
  • Be seen by the first doctor available.
  • Have your injuries looked at.
  • Be referred to an orthopedic doctor. If there’s one in-house, they’ll just come to see you.
  • Injuries are treated and any physical therapy that is needed is prescribed.
    1. If it’s a lesser emergency you will:
  • Sit in the waiting room until you’re called into the back.
  • Undergo the normal intake with a nurse.
  • Have a doctor look at your wounds and determine if you need a specialist.
  • The rest of the steps are the same as if it’s a major emergency.

Once you’re all done you’ll walk out of the hospital, more than likely with a shiny new prescription to help manage the pain. Sometimes you’ll need to stay at the hospital for a while, depending on the severity of your injuries. This is either so the doctors can be sure that you’re getting the time to recover or so they can get a closer look at you.

Before you ask, yes, you can absolutely end up in the ICU, or intensive care unit, because of orthopedic issues. It really depends on the severity of your injuries.

When to See an Orthopedic Doctor

After reading the rest of this article, you might be wondering if you should see an orthopedic doctor for the pain in your ankles/feet/elbows/shoulders/wrists/hands/etc. Knowing when to push to see this kind of doctor can be pretty important for a lot of reasons.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that you should worry too much about it. There are some medical conditions out there that if we went into detail about them, you might not be able to sleep again for weeks. It’s pretty scary out here, dear reader.

There are conditions that are worse than death that probably won’t kill you for decades. Parts of your body that can betray you that you aren’t even aware that they exist. Conditions that can take all of your beauty, youth, and comfort from you in one fell swoop.

But we don’t worry about those. “Why not?” we can hear you asking. Well, because we have doctors to diagnose our conditions and try to help steer us away from such dastardly conditions. Specialists that have spent their lives studying these conditions so you don’t have to worry about them as much.

If you think something is wrong, go see a doctor. Being a hypochondriac only serves to stress us out, and we don’t really have any way of knowing if something we’re experiencing is a byproduct of aging or something more serious. But a doctor will be able to tell you.

Getting the Right Kind of Medical Care

Knowing what different kinds of doctors do can make visits a lot easier. It can be pretty scary when your regular doctor tells you that you need to see a specialist but worry not. They do this to ensure that you’re getting the best care possible.

General practice doctors practice general medicine. That means that when it comes to specialized issues, they need some help to be sure that you’re getting the care you need to thrive as much as you possibly can. Seeing a specialist is a good thing, it means that you’re getting the care you need more from someone who knows what they’re doing.