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Buffalo Hospital

Emergency Department

Saving lives

Tom Burling thought he had heart burn. But when it proved to be a heart attack, he was fortunate to be near Buffalo Hospital's emergency room. His story shows how Buffalo Hospital works with Mercy Hospital to save lives with timely heart care.

'Saving lives' video transcript

When you are hurt or don't feel well, you want quick attention. At Buffalo Hospital, we have the shortest wait times in all of the Twin Cities.

Our team of emergency doctors and nurses are ready to care for you with the most advanced lifesaving equipment and technology available.

Our doctors, part of Suburban Emergency Associates, PA, have a proven record for consistent, impressive improvements in patient outcomes, wait times and patient satisfaction. We also have a wide-range of specialists on call, including orthopedics, cardiac care, neurological and several others.

Time is critical

In an emergency, every moment is critical. It's important to get to the closest emergency department.

Buffalo Hospital has earned a reputation for quick, expert care. If a higher level of care is needed than what is available, our emergency team immediately begins tests and treatments, stabilizes you and arrangs transportation by ambulance or helicopter as needed.

If you need a prescription before going home, InstyMeds, an automated system that dispenses prescriptions, is available in our lobby.

As a non-profit hospital, we treat all patients, regardless of their ability to pay.

What to expect at the emergency department

Emergency department care team members you may see include (left to right) Darren Huber, MD; Margo Binsfield, registered nurse; and Jeffrey Hill, MD.

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MyChart is the secure way to manage your health care online. View your emergency department discharge instructions and more.
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It's helpful to understand what takes place when visiting the Emergency Department (ED). We are committed to providing excellent, timely care. Our first priority is to save lies, so the most severely injured or ill patients are seen first.

  • ED arrival
    Upon arrival, patients first check in at the registration desk, and are brought immediately back to a triage room. A registered nurse will assess your vital signs, medical concerns and history to ensure patients with the most urgent needs are seen first.
  • Registration
    Registration is typically completed at your bedside. It is helpful to bring a list of current medications, list of allergies and insurance. If your insurance requires a co-payment, you will need to make a payment before you go home.
  • Diagnosis and treatment
    Patients are seen in private exam rooms by a board-certified emergency doctor. If you require imaging services such as an X-ray, MRI or CT scan, those services are just down the hall. When all tests results are reviewed, your doctor will decide whether you will be discharged or admitted to the hospital.
  • Going home
    Once your doctor determines you can go home, you are provided with complete discharge instructions. If you need a prescription, InstyMeds, an automated system that dispenses prescriptions, is available in our lobby.

Your care team

During your visit, your care team may include an emergency doctor, a registered nurse, medical or radiology technician and a laboratory technician.


In most cases, one visitor at a time is allowed at your bedside. This will allow your medical needs to be met and privacy maintained.

Relatives and friends are asked to remain in the emergency lobby area unless their presence is absolutely necessary for your care. Staff will keep friends and family informed about your care and treatment as much as possible.

Why are some people seen sooner than others?

We are committed to providing you with excellent patient care, no matter what your illness or injury. Because our first priority is to save lives, the most severely injured or ill patients will be seen first. If you are asked to wait but begin to feel worse, please tell the nurse right away.

Why can't I eat or drink while I'm waiting?

You might be asked to refrain from eating or drinking because your physical condition may require testing or surgery. After the doctor evaluates you, please check with the doctor or your nurse about eating or drinking.

How long does treatment take?

Treatment time depends on each individuals health condition. Buffalo Hospital's average time from arrival to see a doctor is about 30 minutes, and typically, patients are on their way home within two hours from arrival.

If you have a complicated health problem, you may be in the emergency department for many hours. Your health problem may require numerous tests and your doctor may need to consult with specialists.

If your illness or injury is life-threatening, it may take several hours to stabilize you condition. You may be transferred to another Allina Health hospital or need to be admitted to Buffalo Hospital for ongoing care.

Why did I have to wait when the staff did not look busy?

Staff and doctors are waiting for diagnostic test results and often can't proceed with other treatment or diagnosis until the test results are available.

How can I get my medical records if I need them?

You can pick up copies of you medical records from Health Information Management (medical records) at Buffalo Hospital. Please call 763-684-7818, in advance, so your records can be prepared for you. You will need to sign a release of information form before receiving the records.

You can also access and download portions of your health records through MyChart.

Why can't you tell me what this will cost?

Unless a diagnosis is performed, we cannot tell you exactly what the estimated cost will be. After the doctor evaluation occurs, he or she dictates a report describing your care. Once the report is transcribed, charges are electronically posted to your account. The charges can be obtained in about two to three days after your visit. Be advised that along with the hospital bill, you may also receive bills from the Emergency department physician group, radiologist and pathologists (lab).

Who can help me if I have a concern or would like to comment about my care in the emergency department?

We welcome your questions and concerns - they help us improve our care. If you do not feel comfortable talking with the staff who treat you, you can speak with the Service Excellence coordinator, charge nurse, Emergency department manager or director.

Why can't I get any medical advice over the phone when I call?

Unlike your primary doctor, the emergency department staff is not familiar with your medical history, general health, or health care concerns; therefore we cannot provide accurate information related to treatment or diagnosis over the phone. We will always be glad to see you in person in the emergency department.

Stroke care

Did you know signs and symptoms of stroke may last a short time and disappear? A stroke is a medical emergency, so don't delay in getting help.

Buffalo Hospital is deemed stroke ready by John Nasseff Neuroscience Institute. This includes offering immediate stroke intervention and management using clot busting (thrombolytics) medications.

Telehealth brings expert stroke care close to home

Stroke patients at Buffalo Hospital have 24-hour access to stroke care experts at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

Community Health Topic: Stroke

Learn about recognizing, diagnosing and treating a stroke from Christine Delmonico, MD, Emergency Department, Buffalo Hospital, in these Community Health Topic public service announcements.

Part 1: Recognizing stroke - signs and symptoms

Use the FAST test to recognize and respond to the signs of stroke.

  • Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
  • Time: If you observe any of these signs (independently or together), call 9-1-1 immediately.

Learn more at

Part 2: Delay in treatment for stroke

Why do some patients delay treatment for stroke?

Part 3: Different types of stroke

There are two types of stroke: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Learn more about causes and types of strokes.

Part 4: Risk factors for strokes

Risk factors increase your chance of having a stroke. Your doctor can help you determine your risk factors -- what you can and cannot control. Learn more about risk factors and prevention.

Source: SWTV Community Television
Thank you to SWTV 19 Community Television and the City of Buffalo for their partnership.
Reviewed by: Christine Delmonico, MD
First Published: 04/24/2013
Last Reviewed: 04/24/2013