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Hospital physician writes guide to Surviving the Emergency Room

New Britain [October 13 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. “If you understand how the ER works, you’ll know where to go, what to ask for, and what to expect. With this knowledge, you will give yourself the chance to have the best medical outcomes.”

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 for yourself; and how an ED’s census might affect your visit.

To prepare for or potentially avoid wait times, Clark advises checking into what hospitals do to make their wait times known. A number of hospitals (including HCC) list ED wait times on the Internet and have smart phone applications to keep patients updated on current ED wait times. But, says Clark, “If someone gets in before you, be thankful you’re not as sick as they are.”

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. After approaching with the topic, he worked with CreateSpace, an Amazon company, for editing. The book is available on and can be found with keyword search “surviving the emergency room.” Clark says the book will soon also be available on electronic reading devices, including Kindle™ and the iPhone using the Kindle for iPhone application.

Clark, a Southbury resident, who joined HCC in 2004, earned his medical degree from the University of Connecticut School (UCONN) of Medicine and completed an integrated residency in emergency medicine and traumatology at Hartford Hospital, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, and UCONN Health Center. He is a clinical instructor at UCONN School of Medicine; a guest lecturer at Central Connecticut State University; a Connecticut State Police Surgeon; and a medical adviser and instructor for the Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement. Clark is director of Emergency Department Risk Management for HCC, and is active in emergency medical education for students and medical residents.

Contact: Kimberly Gensicki, 860-224-5900, x6507

HCC Corporate Communications
(860) 224-5695 • Fax (860) 224-5779