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Emergency Medicine in DeKalb and Sandwich

young, smiling nurseWhether it’s for chest pain, trauma, or urgent care, emergency physicians are available 24/7 in the emergency room at KishHealth System’s two hospitals. 

24-hour services include:

  • Lab
  • Radiology
  • Pharmacy
  • Social services
  • Hospitalist (if admission is necessary)

As soon as you walk in the door, an emergency medical technician will greet you at the reception desk, assess the nature of your injury or illness, and determine next steps. People with the most critical conditions are treated first. 

Flu Season Alert

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider to determine appropriate testing and treatment for flu. For more information on when to seek medical care please visit

While patient volumes will fluctuate throughout the flu season, current Emergency Department wait-times have stabilized. Thank you for your patience.  

Heart Attack Emergencies

Heart attack symptoms are rapidly addressed in the ER. In fact, our door-to-balloon time at Kishwaukee Hospital is well under the national standard of 90 minutes.

That means within minutes of you coming to the ER with heart attack symptoms, we confirm your diagnose, get you up to the cardiac catheterization lab and insert a balloon to open up the blockage in less than 90 minutes.

If you are experiencing symptoms, call an ambulance. Paramedics start heart attack protocols immediately, which can mean the difference between a lot of heart damage and little heart damage, and even life and death.

Warning Signs

According to the American Heart Association, if you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

For women, chest pain or discomfort is most common. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Stroke Emergencies

Kishwaukee and Valley West ERs are designated as “Stroke Ready” through an affiliation with the Cadence Health Stroke Center at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.

Psychiatric Emergencies

Individuals experiencing a psychiatric emergency are assessed by our ER doctors and nurses and a social worker. When appropriate, staff from Ben Gordon (mental health) Center, which serves DeKalb County, will assist with follow up care and inpatient placement. 

Helicopter Medical Transfers

A medical helicopter is staged at Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb to enable quick response to accidents in DeKalb County and to facilitate medical transport from Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb or to a regional trauma center. Valley West patients are transferred to Kishwaukee Hospital or a regional trauma center by air or ground based on available transport services.

Fast Track System at Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb

Fast Track is a system of classifying and treating patients for the purposes of improving patient flow and decreasing wait times.

First implemented in August 2007, the Fast Track System has continued at the new hospital in order to help solve the problems of a busy emergency room. The Fast Track System has helped to decrease wait times so we can serve emergency room patients better. Fast Track is open from 2 pm to midnight daily.

The Fast Track process:

  • Patient arrives at the Emergency Department reception desk.
  • EMT assesses his or her condition, gets preliminary registration information, and places an identification band on the patient’s wrist. 
  • Patient’s name and chief complaint appear on the monitor to alert the triage nurse of the waiting patient. 
  • Patient’s condition is evaluated in triage and the decision is made about the severity of the injury or illness. For minor injuries like a sprain or a minor illness like a sore throat or an earache, patient is designated for Fast Track.
  • Patient is escorted to a semi-private room that can accommodate more patients at one time. 
  • Doctor sees and treats the patient, registration information is taken, and the patient is released.



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