Health & Spirit

Avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In the 2000 movie "Pay It Forward," the storyline is all about doing good deeds for strangers who, in turn, pass on a good deed to someone they don't know. One example: A stranger gives a journalist a jazzy new Jaguar S-Type when the writer's car is damaged in an accident. When asked why he's doing it, the stranger says that recently he took his daughter to the emergency department while she was having an asthma attack. She wasn't getting the care she needed until a wounded thug in the ER went ballistic (literally) in order to help the girl -- and probably saved her life. Now he wanted to do something that was unexpected and generous for someone else.

The frustrations of waiting for hours in a crowded ER, well, that's something most folks have experienced at one time or another. Wouldn't it be a lot nicer if you could avoid these visits all together?

Maybe you can! Researchers at the UCSF Department of Emergency Medicine looked at data on 424 million ER visits and identified the "avoidable" reasons people end up there ("avoidable" was defined as visits that did not require any diagnostic or screening services, procedures or medications and were discharged home).

The top three preventive solutions were:

1. Alcohol-related problems: Seek help for dependency or abuse problems.

2. Mood disorders: See an M.D. therapist who can offer talk/cognitive therapy and medication.

3. Dental-related disorders (mostly toothaches): Get a checkup 1-2 times annually, brush twice and floss daily.


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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