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Hospital physician writes guide to Surviving the Emergency Room

[October 28 2010] - Having treated thousands of patients as an emergency medicine physician, Ron Clark, M.D., FACEP, of The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HCC) has plenty of tips on how potential patients and their family members can best use an emergency room (ER). He’s penned his experiences and observations into a layman’s guide, Surviving the Emergency Room.

“The goal of the book is to prepare readers for their medical emergency, because it’s going to happen,” says Clark, who notes his book has broad appeal, from families with children to those who may be dealing with aging, and everyone in between.

Noting over 100 million ER visits in the U.S. annually, Clark says there’s not one book telling patients and family members about how the emergency room works. His 93-page, 28-chapter book, navigates the reader through the emergency department (ED) process – from admission to discharge or possible hospital transfer – and includes information like how to find the best ED for your condition and make the most of what Clark terms “face time” with the emergency physician.

“Patients need to assume a role in their care, even for the ED -- empower themselves,” Clark says. For example, if a doctor’s shift is ending, the book suggests the patient ask if that doctor and the incoming one could speak concurrently with the patient about the case for care continuity.

With eye-catching chapter titles like Controlled Chaos, The Squeaky Wheel, and Mark Your Calendar, the book tells how emergency medical providers manage many different types of medical and surgical patients at once; when and how to strategically speak up; and how an ED’s census might affect one’s visit.

Clark started writing the book three years ago, initially as a way to wind down after a late-night hospital shift. He says the book is not a reflection on HCC but based on his experience of working in several hospital emergency departments, combined with personal ER experiences with his family members. The book also includes research from various emergency medical publications. The book is available on and can be found with keyword search “surviving the emergency room.” It’s also available on electronic reading devices, including Kindle™ and the iPhone using the Kindle for iPhone application.

Hospital of Central Connecticut emergency medicine physician Ron Clark, M.D., FACEP