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When you have a medical emergency you may sometimes feel your problem is exacerbated by the long waits in the emergency room.

Unless you have a life-threatening wound or allergic reaction, an ER visit can take hours and the chaos around you can make a hospital seem like a scary rather than a healing place.

However, Dr. Myiesha Taylor, a Texas-based, board certified emergency medicine physician specialist and a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said there are several things you can do to improve your experience in the emergency room.

In an article for Atlanta Black Star, Taylor wrote that whenever possible, patients should try to time ER visits for around 4 a.m. or after 7 a.m. Things begin to slow down before dawn, but can get chaotic around 7 a.m., when most hospitals experience shift changes. Fridays during the day also tend to be better than waiting until the weekend.

It is always good to have a copy of your complete medical history and a list of all the medications and supplements you take, especially when you are traveling. It helps emergency room doctors and nurses to act quickly and efficiently if they can quickly size up your condition and know what medicines to administer or avoid. It also helps the doctor to fully consider all the possible emergency conditions that may exist based on your current complaint.

The emergency room is not a normal business situation, so understand that the medical staff is extremely busy and working under great stress. Being kind and polite and working to keep the environment calm is in everyone’s best interest.

Even though you are in a hospital, the ER does not always have the full array of blood tests, examinations or specialists on hand to diagnose and treat chronic illnesses. The emergency room really should not be a substitute for a doctor’s office. If your problem is not life-threatening, schedule an appointment with your regular physician or ask for a referral.

Taylor is far more than an ER specialist and her reach is global. She is president and founder of Artemis Medical Society, an international support group for women physicians of color. Artemis has nearly 2,500 members with representation in every major American city, and extends to South Africa, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the Caribbean.

Taylor is also a Doc McStuffins. Taylor and a group of black women physicians were the subjects of mini-profiles linked to the popular African American Disney character, Doc McStuffins, a little girl who aspires to be a doctor and “practices” on her toys.

Inspired by her grandmother and mother, both nurses, Taylor said she always wanted to help people protect their health.

“I know that I would not be a physician today if it was not for them,” she told Fort Worth Business Press, when she was named one of the Great Women of Texas 2012. “Both my grandmother and mother demonstrated great courage throughout their lives and instilled in me the understanding that we can overcome any circumstance that may appear throughout our lives.”

Click here for answers to your questions about the ER.

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