Emergency room in Portsmouth

When you need emergency care, you want to know you are getting the best care as quickly as possible. Portsmouth Regional Hospital's ER is prepared to handle any medical emergency you have, any time of day. We make each visit as quick and comfortable as possible, and we offer a FastTrack ER for less serious illnesses and injuries.

We also provide care at two freestanding ERs, Seabrook ER in Seabrook, New Hampshire, and Dover ER in Dover, New Hampshire.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an emergency, call 911.

When to choose the ER or primary care

You need the right care at the right place. Sometimes it's hard to know if you should seek emergency care, urgent care or schedule an appointment with your primary care provider.

You can use our guide below to help you make that decision. Our nurses can also help you determine whether you should come to the ER or wait for your doctor's office to open.

ER symptom checker

Not sure when to go the ER? Portsmouth Regional Hospital's ER has tips on symptoms to look for that can help you decide. Our guide will help you understand what to expect when you get there.

The flu virus is very common and does not normally require a visit to the ER. But, for the high-risk populations listed below, it can be very serious:

  • Infants
  • People 65 years old and older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with certain diseases, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • People with weakened or compromised immune systems

Signs that you should go to the ER with the flu include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Vomiting that can’t be controlled, to the point of severe loss of body fluids (dehydration)
  • If you develop complications such as pneumonia
  • Still not sure? Consult our cold/flu/stomach flu symptoms chart for more information.

Stomach pain is the most common reason patients visit the ER. Everyone experiences stomach pain at some point. It can result from a variety of causes and occur in varying degrees of severity. So when is your pain serious enough to go to the emergency room?

You should seek immediate medical attention if your stomach pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • Stomach is hard and/or tender to the touch
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Inability to eat without nausea or vomiting
  • Pain in your chest, neck or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath or dizziness
  • High fever
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dark or black stool
  • Vomit contains blood

Respiratory distress can be the result of chronic conditions, like asthma or emphysema, or something more serious, such as heart failure. Signs that you should seek emergency medical treatment include:

  • Breathing stops
  • Severe shortness of breath that affects your ability to function
  • Noisy, high-pitched and rapid wheezing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Inability to speak comfortably and sustain voice while at rest
  • Breathing difficulties when you lie flat
  • Breathlessness that doesn’t stop after 30 minutes of rest
  • Or if your trouble breathing is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

    • Back or arm pain
    • Pain or tightness in chest
    • Extreme fatigue
    • Swelling in your feet and ankles
    • High fever, chills and cough

Call 911 right away if you have chest pain that is crushing or squeezing and comes with any of these symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain that spreads from the chest to the neck, jaw or arms
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fast or irregular pulse
  • Signs of shock

Signs of a heart attack may show up in other ways in women, and may include:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Discomfort in your gut
  • Discomfort in the neck, shoulder or upper back

A concussion or any injury to the head can be very serious. If you have hit your head and have any of these symptoms, you should go to the ER:

  • Loss of consciousness, even briefly
  • Any period of amnesia or loss of memory of the event
  • Slurred speech
  • Feeling dazed or confused
  • Worsening or severe headache
  • Vomiting
  • Seizure

Most people will experience pain in their side or abdomen at some point in their lives, and it’s usually only temporary. However, severe side pain can be an indication of something serious.

If you have severe pain, especially in your lower right stomach, side or back, or if your pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you should seek immediate medical treatment:

  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in the urine or pain during urination or have had a recent urinary tract infection (UTI)

Severe pain lasting only a few seconds may be nothing to worry about unless it’s reoccurring. If severe pain persists for more than a few minutes you should seek medical attention regardless of other symptoms.

Some common diagnoses may include:

  • Urological issues, such as a kidney infection, kidney stones or a bladder infection Appendicitis
  • Ovarian cyst
  • Side pain can be an indication of a number of different medical conditions. If the pain is severe, it’s important to get it checked out by a medical professional.

Our emergency services

Our top priority is making sure you get the care you need quickly and that we provide it with the compassion and comfort you expect. Our ER offers:

To learn whether your symptoms require an ER visit, our nurses are available 24/7. Call (888) 421-1080.

Visit our website or text 'ER' to 32222 to find out the HCA ER wait times closest to you (message and data rates may apply).

Coming to the ER

When you first arrive to the ER, a triage nurse will ask you about your symptoms and take some vital signs. Once you have seen a healthcare professional, a registration clerk will get information for your medical record and insurance. Whether you have insurance or are able to pay, you will be medically screened, evaluated and stabilized.

If you have a life-threatening illness or injury, you will be the first to be treated in the ER, followed by seriously ill or unstable patients. All others will be seen in the order that they arrive. We strive to make your time in the waiting room as pleasant and brief as possible.

What to bring with you to the ER:

  • List of medicines you take or the actual medicines
  • List of known medical allergies
  • A copy of results from any recent medical tests
  • List of recent medical procedures
  • Care preferences or restrictions
  • A responsible adult or phone number for someone to contact

Before you are sent home, ask any questions you may have about your care. Make sure you keep all paperwork, discharge instructions and medicines, if you receive any.

If you have a primary care provider listed in your medical record, we will give them a copy of your visit summary. Contact your primary care physician after you visit our ER.

FastTrack ER

The FastTrack ER at Portsmouth is open daily from 8am to 8pm and is designed to care for less critical emergencies. When your doctor's office isn't open, or you can't get an appointment, our FastTrack ER provides convenient, patient-centered care. Unlike a walk-in clinic or urgent care center, should your emergency become more serious, we can quickly get you the care you need and admit you to the hospital.

Our FastTrack ER is for anyone two years old or older with medical conditions that are not emergencies, but require treatment within 24 hours, including:

  • Earache
  • Cough symptoms
  • Sore throat
  • Back pain
  • Cuts
  • Bites, stings and allergic reactions
  • Burning or infrequent urination
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Rashes
  • Suture removal
  • Wound checks
  • Prescription refills

Pediatric emergency care

If your child is injured or has an acute illness, our pediatric-friendly ER staff is ready and trained to treat even the youngest patient during a medical emergency.

We understand your child has unique needs during a medical emergency, and we want to make sure you are involved in your child's care. Our physicians, nurses and other specialists will communicate and work with you, sharing all test results and treatment plans, so you can make informed decisions about what is best for your child.

If you feel your child requires immediate, emergency care, always call 911 first.