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Emergency Care

UNC Medical Center’s Emergency Services Department serves patients from across the state and region at an absolutely critical moment. Our goals are to make certain all patients receive a fast and accurate prognosis, and efficient treatment.

Level 1 Trauma Center

UNC Medical Center is one of only five hospitals in the state designated as a Level 1 Trauma Center. This designation is made by the American College of Surgeons. Here’s what that designation means to you:

UNC Medical Center is capable of providing total care for all aspects of injury.

 UNC Medical Center has 24-hour in-house coverage by general surgeons, and prompt availability of care in specialties such as orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology, internal medicine, plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial, pediatric and critical care.

Because of this distinction, hospitals throughout the state and region send patients to UNC Medical Center to ensure that they receive the highest level of specialty care.

Our Facilities

The UNC Medical Center’s Emergency Department has a total of 94 treatment spaces across several different areas. We have multiple trauma rooms and rooms dedicated to patient resuscitation. In addition, we have a dedicated space for psychiatric evaluation, as the Emergency Department operates one of UNC Medical Center’s largest psychiatric units.

Pediatric Emergency Services

We understand that children are not simply pint-sized versions of adult patients. The Department of Pediatric Emergency Services has all of the specialized equipment necessary to treat children and adolescents. Our child-friendly features and amenities are also meant to help ease the fear and anxiety typically associated with an emergency room visit.

Our clinicians work closely with others throughout UNC Medical Center to make sure that all patients’ needs are met. The team includes:

  • Medical and surgical doctors representing a broad range of pediatric subspecialties
  • Social work professionals
  • Foreign language interpreters.

From the time a patient walks through the door, and throughout their entire stay, families can expect to be kept up-to-date on their child’s care.

Emergency Room or Urgent Care?

When you or a family member is sick or injured, the decision of where to go for care is an important one that, in many cases, must be made quickly. In the case of a clear medical emergency, please call 911. In other instances, it may be difficult to know when to come to the Emergency Department or when to visit one of UNC Health Care’s Urgent Care clinics.

While each case will be different, you should come to the Emergency Department if you are experiencing:

  • Chest pain
  • Severe and prolonged shortness of breath
  • Allergic reactions to food or insect bites
  • Head injuries and/or unconsciousness
  • Severe bleeding
  • Consistent vomiting
  • Broken bones or deep wounds

Our Urgent Care facilities are better equipped to treat conditions such as:

  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Sore throats
  • Strains/sprains
  • Ear Infections
  • Sinus Infections
  • Minor cuts

This is not an exhaustive list of conditions, merely a guideline to help you make your decision about where to seek care. If you are unsure of where to go, we advise that you come to the Emergency Department.

Is this an Emergency?

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please dial 911.

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