Top Time-Sensitive Medical Emergencies


Your whole life can change within minutes when a medical emergency strikes. While getting prompt medical attention is always preferable when you have an accident, some conditions can turn deadly without immediate emergency care.

To help you stay safe and healthy, remember these safety tips and know that at RapidCare ER, we’re here to take care of you and your loved ones in the event of an emergency. All three locations in La Porte, Katy, and Missouri City/Sugar Land are open 24/7 every day of the year. So you can count on us to help when you need it most.

Top Time-Sensitive Medical Emergencies
Top Time-Sensitive Medical Emergencies

What are Time-Sensitive Medical Emergencies?

Medical emergencies refer to any illness, injury, or symptom that is severe enough that a reasonable person would seek care right away to avoid severe harm.

A time-sensitive emergency involves any condition that can lead to long-term disability or death without immediate medical treatment.

Recognizing the signs of an emergency and quickly transporting patients to the nearest emergency room that can care for their needs is critical.

Top Time-Sensitive Medical Emergencies

There are three types of conditions considered time-sensitive emergencies:

  • Trauma
  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack


Unintentional injuries, including severe trauma, are the leading cause of death for Americans 45 and younger.

Severe trauma usually results from car crashes, falls, and violence.

Healthcare providers triage priority levels to classify injuries based on their severity and time sensitivity:

Priority 1 – The injury is life-threatening without immediate medical intervention and resuscitation

Priority 2 – The wound is life or limb-threatening without urgent treatment

Priority 3 – Possible life or limb-threatening without further emergency evaluation

When to Go to the ER

Please seek immediate medical attention for any of the following scenarios

  • You’ve been in a car crash
  • You suffered a jolt to the head, neck, or body
  • Loss of consciousness after a fall or being hit by someone or an object
  • Open wounds that won’t stop bleeding after applying pressure for 10 minutes
  • Been a victim of violence


A stroke happens when a blocked or burst of a blood vessel causes an interruption in the brain’s blood supply.

Some 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke yearly, many of which are left with life-long disabilities, and about 130,000 die.

Top Time-Sensitive Medical Emergencies

When there’s insufficient blood flow to the brain, neurons (brain cells) begin to die, leading to cognitive and physical disabilities.

The following chart shows the urgency of receiving medical attention right away.

Time Frame Neurons Lost Ages Brain by
Every second 32,000 8.7 hours
Every minute 1.9 million 3.1 weeks
Every Hour 120 million 3.6 years
10 hours 1.2 billion 36 years
Top Time-Sensitive Medical Emergencies

Prompt medical attention significantly improves patient outcomes, so if you think someone is having a stroke, you need to think fast.

Here is how you can determine if a person is having a stroke:

Ask the person to smile, and check if one side of their face droops
Ask the person to raise both arms, then check if one arm drifts downward or maybe they are unable to raise one arm
Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase or ask them to tell you their name. If they are unable to speak or slur when speaking

Call 911 immediately if you notice any of the above symptoms. The more time passes, the greater the brain damage.

Heart Attack

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. Yearly, approximately 805,000 individuals have a heart attack.

A heart attack occurs when there is a blockage in a major vessel (STEMI) or a minor vessel (NSTEMI). Both scenarios are time-sensitive because, without proper blood flow, the heart muscle begins to die, leading to permanent damage or death.

Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know experiences any of the following:

  • Chest pain or discomfort: Can feel like pressure, a sense of fullness, or sharp pain. Usually, the pain or discomfort affects the center or left side of the chest and lasts more than a few minutes, or the pain goes away and then comes back
  • Pain or discomfort in upper body areas: You may experience pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, shoulders, or one or both arms
  • Shortness of breath: Usually accompanies chest pain, but it can also occur without experiencing chest discomfort

Seeking immediate emergency medical care is critical to saving lives, but so is knowing where to go when faced with these situations.

At Rapid Care ER, we have top-rated emergency physicians and nurses at your disposal 24/7. Our facility also offers advanced diagnostic technology and an onsite clinical laboratory to help us diagnose and treat potentially life-threatening conditions quickly.

During an emergency, remember to use our online check-in to alert our staff so they can wait for you at the door as you arrive.

Top Time-Sensitive Medical Emergencies