If you are experiencing an emergency, please dial 911 for an ambulance—an emergency rescue vehicle can take you to the emergency department more quickly and safely than a friend or family member.
Ohio State has two emergency departments providing round-the-clock care for any medical emergency. As part of Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, we have specialized teams and procedures in place to speed care for life-threatening emergencies, including heart attack and stroke.
Before You Arrive
What happens once I arrive?
Once inside the emergency department, you will pass through a security checkpoint. After that, please report to the registration desk where a staff member will greet you and ask questions to address your needs as quickly as possible.
What to bring:
- Your insurance card and driver’s license, or other valid form of identification
- A list of your medications, allergies and surgeries. If you do not have a medication list ready, please bring the bottles with you
- Your primary care physician’s name and phone number
- A notepad and pen to jot down specific questions and concerns
Why Choose Ohio State?
Level 1 trauma treatment: Ohio State’s Emergency Department at University Hospital is a Level I Trauma Center, which means we are certified to provide the highest level of care for traumatic injuries. Our specialized team of surgeons, physicians and nurses, facilities and treatments are available around the clock, 365 days a year, to treat life-threatening injuries.
Sepsis treatment: Ohio State’s emergency team provides rapid assessment and treatment of sepsis, a life-threatening condition. Our Sepsis Alert System works in conjunction with area EMS agencies to identify suspected sepsis in patients and mobilize a treatment team in our emergency departments to provide rapid care.
STEMI alert process: When a patient suffers from the most serious form of heart attack, known as ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (or STEMI), Ohio State’s Emergency Departments enact our STEMI Alert system. This advanced system mobilizes a specialized treatment team of emergency medicine and cardiology physicians to provide rapid treatment in the adjoining Ross Heart Hospital.
Burn care: Ohio State’s Comprehensive Burn Center is the only adult burn center in central Ohio verified by the American College of Surgeons and the American Burn Association.
Stroke: Ohio State’s certified stroke program is the only comprehensive stroke program in Columbus with trained specialists in stroke care available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Hyperbaric medicine: Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center is the only facility in central Ohio with hyperbaric medicine chambers available for emergency treatment 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Sexual assault: If you are a victim of sexual assault, rape or incest, our specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to evaluate your circumstances and help put you at ease during the evaluation process.
Costs, Insurance and Financial Aid
Our emergency department staff evaluates, stabilizes and appropriately dispatches all medical emergencies, regardless of ability to pay at time of service. Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center and our providers contract with many insurance companies. Learn more about the insurances we accept.
You will be asked to pay your emergency department co-pay at the time of your visit to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Once your insurance has processed your claim, you will be responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses as required by your benefit plan. Learn more about paying your bill.
Circumstances surrounding a trip to the emergency department and care afterward are sudden and unplanned. You may not be financially prepared for a medical emergency. Please understand that we will provide treatment to you no matter what your financial situation. Learn more about financial aid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I park?
For the University Hospital Emergency Department, it is recommended you park in the SAFEAUTO Hospitals Garage.
For the University Hospital East Emergency Department, short-term parking is available just outside the emergency department entrance doors. Free longer-term public parking is available directly across Hawthorne Ave. in the surface lots.
Will public transportation get me to your hospital?
Yes, our University Hospital Emergency Department is accessible by COTA (Central Ohio Transit Authority) buses 7, 18, 52, 66 and 84. Our University Hospital East Emergency Department is accessible by COTA buses 10, 11, 16 and 81. Bus passes can be purchased at the Scarlet Ribbon Gift Shop in the Rhodes Hall lobby and in the Scarlet Ribbon Gift Shop at University Hospital East, on the first floor.
Once you arrive
Are there translators for those who don't speak English?
Yes, all OSU Wexner Medical Center facilities have access to interpreter services. These services are available at no cost to you or your family. Please tell the admitting administrator that you need translation services.
Can I use my cell phone?
Though use of cell phones in the emergency department is allowed, we ask that you make your best efforts to minimize phone calls and keep your conversations as quiet as possible.
Why am I waiting when the waiting room doesn't seem crowded?
An empty waiting room doesn’t mean that our emergency department is not busy assisting patients. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center serves some of the sickest and most acutely ill patients in central Ohio and many of those patients arrive by ambulance, through a different entrance. So while it may not seem busy in the waiting room, the treatment areas of the emergency department can be very active.
Also, because our emergency department is a designated stroke and heart attack center as well as a Level 1 Trauma Center, we often are taking care of patients that draw upon extensive resources in order to maximize their care.
Why are patients who arrived after me called ahead of me?
Patients are treated based on the severity of their condition, which means that patients arriving after you but with more serious conditions may be treated first. Since our first priority is caring for patients with life-threatening emergencies, there may be longer waiting times for other patients.
How long you will have to wait is not always predictable. Please know that we will do our best to reduce your waiting time and to reassess and monitor your condition. If your symptoms change or you have questions, please contact a nurse immediately.
Do you treat children?
We are an adult emergency center. We recommend that pediatric emergencies be sent to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where they have the staff and equipment to care for children. If children are brought to our emergency department, we will stabilize them for transport to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
What is triage?
Triage refers to the process of examining patients and placing them in the order they will be seen and treated by a physician.
You will be triaged after you register in the emergency department. A registered nurse will ask questions about your illness, injury or medical history and will perform a brief exam to determine the severity of your condition. The wait time is then determined by your clinical needs. Patients who have life-threatening or very serious needs will be taken first and not in the order of arrival.
What is Fast Track?
During triage, if a patient is determined to have a minor illness or injury, he or she will be escorted to the Fast Track area. There, you will be seen by a physician assistant or nurse practitioner with specialized training in emergency medicine. Fast Track is designed to get you treated and discharged more quickly.
I need urgent dental care. Can you treat me?
The Ohio State University College of Dentistry has a Dental Emergency Care Clinic that accepts walk-ins Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. During all other hours, emergency patients may be seen through the emergency department.
The Dental Emergency Care Clinic is located in Postle Hall at 305 W. 12th Ave. on the first floor. For directions please click here. If you have questions, contact the Dental Emergency Care Clinic at 614-292-2751, option 1.
Will I be treated by medical students?
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is a teaching institution. All patients are seen by a staff physician when residents (physicians who have completed medical school and are receiving additional specialty training) or medical students are involved.
Everyone asks me the same questions. Why don't you pass the information along to each other?
We have a team-centered approach in the emergency department, which may involve multiple team members caring for you. Questions are often repeated by staff members to make sure we have the correct information. This is done for your safety, and will help us care for you in the best way possible.
How long does it take to get test results?Diagnostic tests such as x-rays, CT scans and blood draws give us more information about what is happening in your body. Some of these tests may take up to three hours to receive the results. Also, if the emergency physician consults with a specialist or you have special tests ordered, your stay may be longer. Please feel free to ask questions or address concerns about any tests that have been ordered for you.
Family and visitors
How do I find out about my loved one's condition?
The administrator at the admissions desk is your information resource. You may ask for an update on a patient’s progress whenever you are concerned.
Can my family stay with me?
Yes. However, this may not be the case if you are admitted to another area of the hospital.
Please help us keep your family and friends informed by designating one person with whom your nurse and patient liaison will share up-to-date information about your progress. This is the best way to make sure that all your loved ones receive timely and accurate information about you.
Pastoral care is available to support and comfort you and your family.
Are visitors allowed?
Yes. However, the decision is left to the physician and nurse caring for the patient.
Visitors may be asked to leave for a few minutes so the patient may be more fully examined or begin necessary treatments.
In consideration for our critically ill patients, no child age 12 or younger may visit a patient without permission from the charge nurse. Ask to see the charge nurse to make this request.
Where can my family get something to eat while they are waiting?
BistrOH! is located on the first floor of Rhodes Hall. BistrOH! offers complete meals as well as a la carte items. Hours of service are weekdays 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends and holidays 5 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
“BistrOH! to go” is now open along the new concourse between Rhodes Hall and the new James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. BistrOH! to go offers grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, sushi, breakfast and lunch. The cafe will feature a hot sandwich of the day, a variety of beverages including coffee, tea, fountain soda and juice, light snack options such as granola bars, yogurt parfaits, fruit, yogurt and cereal, and Kellogg’s breakfast sandwiches. BistrOH! to go hours are 3 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
At University Hospital East, Seasons Garden Café is located on the lower level of the Tower. Seasons Garden Café offers complete meals as well as a la carte items. Hours of service are weekdays 6:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and weekends and holidays 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Vending machines are located throughout the medical center, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering snacks, beverages and entrees in larger areas.
After you leave
What if I have a question when I get home?
Follow your after-care instructions carefully, but you should always feel free to return to the emergency department if you feel your condition is getting worse. If you need help or have more questions after you leave, please call our University Hospital Emergency Department at 614-293-8333 or our University Hospital East Emergency Department at 614-257-3414.
Whom can I call if I have a billing question?
If you have a question about a hospital bill, you can call 614-293-2100.
Whom can I contact if I have a complaint?
Our goal is to provide each patient with emergency medical care of the highest quality. If you are dissatisfied with the care you receive at any time during your stay, please inform your nurse or doctor before you leave so that we can address those concerns immediately.
Following your visit, you may receive a telephone or written survey. Please take a few minutes to let us know how we’re doing. Your feedback helps us provide the best care to you and our community. We take all concerns very seriously.
You are also welcome to call our patient experience line at 614-293-8944. They will coordinate your feedback with the emergency department leadership.