Emergency Department FAQs


Following are the most frequently asked questions received in our Emergency Departments.

Q1: What are the signs and symptoms that require immediate Emergency Room consult?

The emergency department is available 24 hours a day for patients who require immediate care

  1. Chest pain or pressure, palpitations, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of heart attack or other heart problems
  2. Sudden numbness, weakness, confusion, loss of vision, problems with speech or balance, or other signs of stroke
  3. Unexplained or worsening shortness of breath, or other breathing problems
  4. High fever
  5. Intense or unexplained pain
  6. Heavy bleeding or bleeding without an apparent cause
  7. Severe injury or trauma, including deep, extensive, or severe cuts.
  8. Possible fractures or broken bones 
  9. Any other problems that you consider an emergency

Q2: What is the BMC ER policy on patient-watchers/companions?

  1. The ER strictly implements a "one patient-one watcher policy" 
  2. Two watchers may be allowed if the patient is restless, is under fall precaution, or combative, which might pose a risk for self-injury or to others.
  3. The watcher must be less than 60 years old with no health comorbidities as follows:
    • Chronic lung disease
    • Chronic heart disease
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Chronic liver disease
    • Chronic neurological conditions
    • Diabetes 
    • Problems with the spleen
    • Weakened immune system such as HIV or AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy.
  4. Other companions are directed to the watcher's area and cannot loiter along the driveway, steps, or gate leading to the ED.
  5. Extra bags, furniture, or appliances are not allowed inside the ER. It can be placed at the watcher's area while awaiting the patient to be admitted.
  6. The ER is a secured area with authorized access only. As a patient-watcher, you are required to remain at the bedside and respect other patients' privacy. If you have more than one watcher, they will be advised to stay in the waiting area. 
  7. Watchers are not allowed to sleep beside the patient nor in any bed or bench at the ER.
  8. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed inside the ER. Watchers who are drunk or reeking of alcohol are not permitted inside the ED.

Q3: What do patients do upon arrival at the BMC ER?

  1. Patients and their watcher shall accomplish a health declaration form at the ER Triage area. 
  2. ER Triage nurse-on-duty shall evaluate the health declaration form and ensure no signs and symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, myalgia, fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, sore throat, or other)or exposure to COVID-19 disease. 
  3. Patients who are COVID-19 suspects shall wait at the Isolation Room until screened.
  4. All patients who did not fulfill the criteria for COVID-19 but with COVID-19 like symptoms shall be directed to the Emergency Room isolation, where they shall wait for further screening and management. 
  5. If no signs and symptoms and did not fulfill the criteria for COVID-19, the patient shall be allowed to enter the main ER. 
  6. All patients and their watchers must wear a face mask and face shields except for children less than two years old. 
  7. A patient must carry paper or fabric tissues to cover the mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing. Used paper tissues should be disposed of immediately.
  8. Maintain social distance by staying at least two meters (whenever possible).

Q4: How do I know I won't get COVID-19 when I seek to consult at the BMC ER?

  1. All patients entering the emergency department is immediately screened for symptoms of COVID-19.
  2. The BMC ER isolate patients who may have COVID-19 or other infections from those with other emergent problems.
  3. The emergency staff wears personal protective equipment (PPE) and places patients who may have COVID-19 in specially designated isolation rooms to ensure infections will not spread from person to person.
  4. Each patient room is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after each patient leaves.

Q5: Why does it take so long before I can see a doctor in the Emergency Room? How long can I expect to wait?

The Emergency Room is a bustling place that handles multiple patients who need attention all at the same time. Waiting time depends on the number of patients and their need for medical attention, including tests and procedures.

Patients are seen in order based on an initial Triage assessment of their illness. But as a general rule.

EMERGENT CASESThe Emergency Room Resident on Duty (ER ROD) usually sees emergent within 10 minutes.
URGENT CASESusually seen by the ER ROD within 30 minutes
NON-URGENT CASESseen within 120 minutes or are send to OPD.

Q6: What is TRIAGE?

Triage is a French word that means "to sort". In the ED, triage refers to the process of examining patients and placing them in the order they will be seen and treated.

Q7: Why was another person taken in before me when I got here first?

Patients are treated based on the severity of their illness or injury; this is called triage. For instance, a person with difficulty breathing needs more urgent help than someone who coughs – even if they had the cough for three days.

Q8: How is the BMC ER staffed?

The Bicol Medical Center Emergency Department is staffed with Board-Certified Physicians, Registered Nurses, Pharmacists, Social Workers, Emergency Medical Technicians, Laboratory Technicians, Radiologic Technologists, Nursing Aids, Administrative Aids, Registration Clerks, and housekeeping personnel. 

Our staff can be identified by their ID's.

Q9: Why am I being cared for by medical students and Interns?

Bicol Medical Center, as a tertiary government hospital, is also a teaching institution. The students and interns assigned are part of the healthcare team involved in inpatient care at the ER. They are under the supervision of clinical instructors and resident physicians. You may also be asked to participate in researches if you consent.

Q10: What is the BMC ER interfacility referral policy?

The BMC ER has a set of guidelines and requirements for referral to ensure a smooth transition for patients, from the outside facility, like health centers, rural health units, and other hospitals.

  1. There must be proper coordination for all referrals from Health Centers and District and private hospitals. The referring doctor must endorse the patient to our ER Resident on duty before transport.
  2. Only patients in stable condition could be brought to the BMC ER. Patients who are in critical condition should be resuscitated or stabilized in the facility of origin before transfer. Our ER Resident is ready to assist in the management of the patient.
  3. These are the referral documents that should be endorsed to the Triage Nurse and the ER physician.: 
    • Clinical Abstract
    • Copies of laboratory result
    • Radiologic films
    • Signed waiver if necessary
    • Referral letter
  4. Immediately inform the ER physician nurse that the patient referred is a COVID-19 suspect based on the Rapid AntibodyTest positive, or if he or she has the following symptoms: fever, cough, myalgia, fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, sore throat, or other). 
  5. To fast track our patients' management, we require all patients presenting with difficulty breathing and chest pains to have their Chest X-ray done in the facility of origin to rule out COVID -19.
  6. Even in full capacity, the ER will not refuse any patient that needs medical attention.

Q11: Can I have something to eat or drink while I am waiting?

The ER physician or nurse may ask you to refrain from eating or drinking for two reasons: first, doing so could impact the tests you are taking; next, they suspect that you might need a diagnostic test or surgery that requires no food or liquid in your system.

Q12: What should I bring with me to the Emergency Department?

It would be helpful if you could bring the following information:

  • Your Medical History
  • The names and dosage of all medications you routinely take.
  • The name and telephone number of your primary physician.
  • For minors: Unaccompanied minors must bring a medical consent form signed by their parent or legal guardian.
  • If you are a member of Philhealth, please bring your Philhealth ID or an updated Member Data Record (MDR).
  • If you are a 4Ps member, please present supporting documents.

Q13: If I am a health worker assigned at the ER, can I take a patient's photo or video?

Republic Act 10173, otherwise known as the Data Privacy Act of 2012, prohibits any person from taking sensitive personal information (taking photo and video included), which could violate patients' privacy and information. Violators will be dealt with the full extent of the law.

Q14: Can I make an appointment to see the same doctor who treated me in the Emergency Department?

The Emergency Department does not accept appointments. For your follow up consultation, please coordinate with the BMC Out Patient Department as advised by your attending ER Physician. The OPD resident will be ready to assist and treat you.





Last update: December 15, 2020