Emergency Services

Emergency Services at UAB Medical West Hospital 

Medical West Emergency Department

The Medical West Emergency Department is a Level 3 Trauma Center designed to provide emergency care to pediatric, adolescent, adult and geriatric patients. We operate a 17-bed unit, with a four bed overflow unit used for our less acute care patients. The Emergency Department is located on the ground floor of the UAB Medical West Main Hospital. 
 

The Emergency Department (ED) Care Team

Our ED Care Team is staffed with skilled physicians and nurses who are specially trained to handle this emergency environment. Working hand in hand to care for our patients are the many other specialists we have including pharmacists, lab technicians, patient care technicians, unit clerks and x-ray technicians. Our nurse to patient ratio averages 4:1, and we have the ability to provide one on one care when acuity rises. Our team provides care 24 hours a day. 
 

The ED Care Team is not limited to hospital staff. In fact, family members and loved one’s play a vital role in the care and recovery of patients. These individuals offer necessary emotional support during dire times. Additionally, they may be involved in the decision making concerning the patient’s treatment.  

Triage System

Triage is the process used to prioritize patients based on the severity of their condition. Upon arrival to the UAB Medical West Emergency Department, the patient will be assessed by a Registered Nurse. The patient is then assigned an acuity level based on the RN’s assessment. To establish the acuity levels, Medical West utilizes the Emergency Severity Index (ESI). 
 
ESI is a five tier triage system that allows for a more detailed assessment of each patient’s chief complaint and the corresponding resources needed. This system helps emergency department staff to rapidly identify patients in need of immediate medical attention, and those who could be seen more efficiently in the overflow unit. 
 

Acuity Levels

LEVEL 1: Emergent (Life and limb threatening - Requires immediate care).
LEVEL 2: Emergent (Unstable, but not life or limb threatening).
LEVEL 3: Urgent (Potentially unstable - requires two or more resources*).
LEVEL 4: Less Urgent (Minor illness or injury - requires one resource*).
LEVEL 5: Non-Urgent (Minor illness or injury - requiring no resources*).
 
*resources indicates any test, treatment or procedure that may need to be administered (i.e. lab tests, x-rays, exams)

 

Visitor Information

The Medical West Emergency Department is a hectic environment. As a result, we maintain a few visitor regulations. For the wellbeing of the patient, and to prevent over-crowding of the area, visitors are limited to one or two at a time. A visitors pass can be obtained from the security guard at the main desk. 
 

Parking

Free parking is available immediately in front of the Emergency Department. Because these spaces are limited, we ask that multi-vehicle families utilize the parking deck behind the emergency department building. 
 

Cell Phone Use

As a courtesy to our patients receiving treatment, we ask that you refrain from cell phone use in the patient care areas. Please place your devices on vibrate or silent mode. We will gladly assist you with the use of one of our emergency department phones if needed. 
 

Food and Drink

For health and sanitation purposes, food or drink is prohibited from the patient care areas. The Medical West staff will provide the necessary diet to patients during their stay in the emergency room. 
 

Checking on the Patient by Phone

Due to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Privacy Laws, UAB Medical West may not release patient information to the public. In the case of family members, the ED nurse will provide a unique code word. This word may be used to gain information about the status of the patient.