Emergency Patient and Family Support

Who Gets Treated First

At Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro's Emergency Department, we try to see patients in the order they arrive; however, several factors affect this. Patients are treated in the Emergency Department in order of urgency. If a patient with a serious condition comes in, they are seen before less urgent patients. Your wait time may increase depending on ambulance arrivals that you are not aware of. It is our goal and desire to have all patients seen by a healthcare practitioner within 30 minutes of arrival.

Patients with less urgent medical conditions, such as sprains or lacerations, receive treatment from a physician's assistant (PA) or a nurse practitioner (NP) in our "Fast Track" area. Therefore, some patients may be seen before you, but this is in an effort to provide everyone with the most effective care in the timeliest fashion. Fast Track benefits all patients by freeing up beds in the urgent care area and decreasing waiting time for less urgent cases. The Emergency Department physician reviews all Fast Track cases prior to discharge.


Our Emergency Department staff welcomes visitors to remain with the patient. Visitors may be asked to leave for a few minutes when the patient is examined or when necessary treatments are administered. The Emergency Department is a secured area with authorized access only. Visitors are required to ask if they may visit a patient. Once inside the Emergency Department, please remain at that patient's bedside and respect other patients' privacy.


Many people wonder if they need antibiotics. Typically antibiotics are used for conditions such as pneumonia, bladder infections and ear infections. Antibiotics are not useful for the common cold or stomach virus. The Emergency Department physician determines whether antibiotics are appropriate in each individual case. Antibiotics can lead to serious side effects such as rashes, diarrhea and drug resistance.

Pain Medications

The Emergency Department physician will address your pain and will order either oral or injection pain medication or both based on your medical history and nature of your illness.

Your Responsibility

  • Notify your nurse or physician if at any time during your visit your symptoms worsen.
  • You will be given a set of discharge instructions after your visit. Although the term on the instruction sheet may not exactly match your diagnosis, the information is specific for your condition. It is important that you understand and follow these instructions. If you have any questions before you leave, please discuss them with the nurse. If you have questions after you return home, please feel free to call the department at 310-514-5350 and ask for the Charge Nurse. We often call patients the next day to see how they are doing and to answer questions.


You will be given information regarding follow-up. It is IMPORTANT that you follow-up with the healthcare provider as indicated. The Emergency Department physician cannot provide on-going medication prescriptions and care. A copy of your visit can be forwarded to your personal physician. As always, if your symptoms worsen before your personal physician or other healthcare provider can see you, please return to the Emergency Department immediately. If you do not have a personal physician, we will give you the name of the physician on-call or you may call our Health Resource Center at 1-800-618-6659 to find doctors who meet the needs of your entire family.

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