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Is It a Medical Emergency, or Not? Top Tips & Advice

Home > Brisbane > Self Help | Questions | Misc | Health and Fitness | Family
by Claudia Bianchi (subscribe)
A Brisbane-based writer who enjoys discovering good food experiences, great coffee and fun events. Subscribe and we will keep you posted on what's happening in your city.
Published January 11th 2018
I don't think it means what you think it means
Emergency, Queensland Health, Emergency room, health care
Source: QLD health website


The older we get, the more we value time over material things. That's why we scour through WeekendNotes, we want to plan our free time effectively. The time we spend with loved ones is precious to us. The reason, of course, is simple - life is fleeting.

We only have one life to live and it's as fragile as it is wondrous. Instinctively, we all know that, so when it is threatened, or when someone we care about is hurting, we react accordingly. We may also, at times, overreact.

My younger brother still makes fun of a slight overreaction I had when I cut my finger aeons ago. Falling to the ground and yelling whilst losing pressure, was probably not my finest moment. My injury might have looked like the remains of a horror movie, but it was certainly nothing that my local GP couldn't handle. Unfortunately, accidents happen and at times, us mere mortals, tend to panic at the sight of injury or pain.

How do you know if your situation is an emergency? Here is when a little bit of common sense is needed. If your injury is life-threatening, then the emergency room is the place to be. If you are coming up to the seven-year anniversary of that dreaded day you swallowed chewing gum not an emergency.



More and more Queenslanders are presenting to Emergency Departments with non-emergency symptoms. Using up, not only valuable resources, but taking up precious time that might be needed by someone actually facing life or death. Someone like you or your loved one.

We live in a time and in a place where there's no lack of access to other providers. Providers that are more than capable to assist with minor injuries, sprains and colds and flu.

In Queensland, we have the 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) line which provides us 24hours, 7 days a week access to a registered nurse at the cost of a local call. The nurse will advise you on what you should do next and how quickly you should act.

If your GP is closed, there are several Home Visit Doctors who bulk bill. Dial a Doctor, 247 Doctor, 13SICK just to name a few.

There are 24hr Pharmacies who can assess and treat minor ailments that do not require a doctor and even provide you with medical advice.

A very useful link is the QLD Government Health Service Finder: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/contacts/service-finder


The Emergency Department is where you should present if your injury or illness is severe or life-threatening. If you are unsure how serious it is, contact 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84) to get treatment advice.

It might surprise you to hear that thousands have slowed down this Emergency Service requesting medical certificates and prescriptions.

In order to aid and train our common sense, below are some examples of symptoms that have presented to Emergency Departments:


Visit your GP or Call 13 Health (13 43 25 84)
- A sultana up your nose
- A splinter on your hand or finger
- A suspected sprain
- Cold and Flu or Man Flu.
- A blister on your foot
- Hiccups

Visit your nearest Emergency Department
- A glass or sharp object stuck in one of your orifices
- Impaled by a log
- Shot with a nail gun
- Heart Attack - Chest pains
- Third-degree burns
- Poisoning by drugs or other substances
- Any life-threatening condition.

For everyone's sake, let's hope the difference is clear.

Let the Doctors and Nurses in ED concentrate on saving lives instead of giving out band-aids.

Take the time to place 13Health in your contact list. Find a doctor who does home visits in your area and your closest 24 Hour Pharmacy. Save their contact information. If it is online, save it as a favourite, so it's easy to find.

Lastly, pass on this information to your family and friends so they too know what other options they have when they have a not-quite-an-emergency situation.

Remember Keep Emergency for Emergencies!
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Why? Emergency is for Emergencies only
Phone: 13 43 25 84
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