Emergency Room

Valley Medical Center operates the most comprehensive emergency facility in south King County. VMC's Emergency Department (ED) is a Level III Trauma Center and one of the busiest EDs in Washington State.

What to Expect as a Patient


When you arrive, you will check in with registration and our greeter, who is a medical-surgical technician. They will sign you in and escort you to triage. Triage is the French word for "to sort." Patients are treated by the level of their injury or illness, not on a first-come, first-served basis. The triage nurse determines who should be seen in what order. Emergent patients, the most serious, are seen immediately—a person experiencing a heart attack, for example. Non-urgent patients may be directed to Flex Care where our goal is to get you in and out as quickly as possible.

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The Care Process and What to Expect When You Arrive in Your Treatment Room

Once you arrive in your treatment room, a primary care nurse is assigned to you. The nurse will coordinate your care with other patient care providers, such as the emergency physician and medical-surgical technicians. If you have questions or concerns, your primary care nurse is the person to ask.

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Waiting During the Treatment Process

Understandably, the number one frustration with an emergency visit to the hospital is waiting. VMC's ED may not appear busy to those waiting in the lobby, but there is a separate entrance for patients who arrive by ambulance. So, while you are waiting in the lobby, several new emergency patients may arrive. Your understanding is appreciated.

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Tips for Communication

We recommend one family member or friend stay in the room with the patient. This person can keep those waiting in the lobby informed about what is going on. This allows the doctor to explain everything to the contact person once, which saves precious time and helps prevent confidential medical information from inadvertently being given to the wrong people.

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Important Phone Numbers

Valley Medical Center Emergency Services

Emergency Services Director
425.228.3440, ext. 8188

Crisis Counselors
425.228.3440, ext. 8990

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