It’s no secret that many people view the Emergency room, and more specifically the ER as a place to get a quick fix to a problem and then get on with their lives. Sure, sometimes they do get a few answers but often, not. And even more so, there’s a very high chance that the Emergency vet that you visit doesn’t know you. 

Because many people, don’t leave the hospital the same person that walked in. From being intoxicated on their way to the hospital to being distraught and crying on your shoulder, your experience at the emergency vet hospital glasgow is completely different from most. They are experiencing first-hand the horrible effects of either post-traumatic stress or physical injuries that are just waiting to go wrong. 

And then they see the calm, patient, and caring human face behind the reception desk. Even though the kids have screamed through every single second of the entire visit, you can see the light in their eyes. They don’t feel like a pest, they feel like human being that is trying their best to help their fellow human. It’s these small things that can change the entire experience for a visitor in the ER.

While there is no one-size-fits-all method, here are the things we try to do when someone walks into the ER.

Look them in the eyes

Almost every visit to the ER will involve crying. The last thing anyone wants is to be ignored by the person or be embarrassed in front of their other family members. Because of this, we make every effort to connect with the visitor.

Look them in the eyes, take their hand, and introduce yourself. Be sure to listen to their story. While the children may be yelling, crying, and asking endless questions, you may find that the parent is in shock and may need someone who will stay patient and sympathetic. Do not be afraid to try to distract them if needed, such as by making a joke or telling a story.

Listen and Remember

The last thing that anyone wants to do in an emergency situation is repeated themselves over and over. They don’t want to say something just to be told ‘what we always say. If you need to tell someone something, listen. I would even go so far as to say that you should not say ‘huh’, even if you do not hear it. The patient needs to know that you understand their emotional response to their medical condition.

Follow up

It’s unlikely that anyone wants to bring a child into the hospital. However, a few parents didn’t bring in a kid, they brought their pet. These pets can bring in germs, get into things, and the whole house can get covered in hair and feces. When we treat a pet, they come in with anxiety and fear. Even when we give the pet medication, they will still be nervous and start drooling, and this is a normal reaction.

While it’s normal to be afraid for the pet, and treat them with love and care, they can feel abandoned by their owner if they are just being ignored. A visit to the Emergency Vet will help relieve their fears. For a pet, we take away the fear and make them feel safe and secure.

The ER is not a ‘hospital for pets’. It’s an Emergency Vet. We will treat the pet in the most humane way possible, but the owner needs to make sure that their pet is being taken care of. You can follow up with them later if you have any concerns or need help getting the pet’s needs met.

Bring something in with you

I don’t mean a toy or a video, I mean something that reminds the pet of its home. A cell phone with photos, a picture of them and the pet when it was a kitten, the crate they are used to, and the toys that they are used to is always a good thing.

Keep this a surprise if possible and let the pet see what they are getting in case they get nervous. You might not realize how traumatizing a medical emergency is to a pet until you see them during a visit to the ER.

Be honest about expectations

It’s unlikely that you will know what is going on for your visitors. We have our routines and we may not give the same advice as you will get from your veterinarian. If the visitors are looking for an antibiotic for their dog, but you are not sure what the illness is, be honest with them. Don’t say, ‘This dog has an upper respiratory infection and we are giving him amoxicillin for 10 days, because you are not sure what that means. Do not give a medical until you have seen the entire pet and talked with the veterinarian to be sure that you are giving the best care.

Make them feel welcome and comfortable

Many of the people who visit the ER have recently lost someone or something very close to them. They need to talk about death, but they need to do it in a safe place where they are not being judged. Talking about death is not easy, but it is important for the health of the visitor.

I often see visitors in the waiting room reading, writing, or working on their phones. When you come to the emergency room, you will be told what you need to do. Some visitors will want to get a paper signed or just make sure that they are not bothering you. Some visitors may have to wait hours to be seen, and they want to spend that time in a calm environment, away from people and phones.

Being a witness to a death or a serious injury is not a fun experience for anyone, and being present during it can be a difficult experience. However, we have a purpose at the Emergency Vet and that is to take care of our patients. By being able to comfort and support people in their grief and loss, they will feel supported in their time of need.

Things to talk about

Talking about death and disease is important for the entire family. You can ask questions like:

  • What is the illness?
  • Are there any other symptoms?
  • Have you talked with your vet?
  • What are you treating the illness with?
  • Do you need any other meds?
  • What is your veterinarian recommending?

These questions are important because the most compassionate care that you can provide for someone in their grief and shock is to talk about their loss in a gentle manner and with honesty.

One of the best parts about being at the ER is seeing the joy and relief on people’s faces when they get the life-saving treatment that they need to survive. Don’t miss the opportunity to provide comfort and support in times of crisis.

Do not take for granted the peace and serenity in your lives that you should share with your loved ones. Enjoy the time you spend together because tomorrow may be too late.

More resources

There are so many resources to help you during this difficult time of loss.

Emergency Vet Radio

Each week on the Emergency Vet Radio there are programs related to the Emergency Room and their thoughts are greatly appreciated. If you cannot attend, it is available online for download on iTunes, at the Red Cross Emergency App for the iPhone, or on Google Play.

Caring Connections

A national organization that provides help to grieving family and friends. You can email your questions or just drop them a note at and they will take care of them for you.

Emergency Veterinarian

For years, the staff at Emergency Veterinarian has been committed to providing care for the pets and families in their community. They offer online support groups, wellness and grief seminars, and a heartbroken pet hotline for those who need a way to share their loss and talk to others who have experienced the same.

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