Emergency Medicine

The Emergency Room of Penn Presbyterian Medical Center

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

The Department of Emergency Medicine at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center welcomes you. Our Emergency Department staff is dedicated to teamwork, and sets high standards for your care. We take pride in providing patient-centered care to every person who comes through our doors. The department is staffed by board certified emergency medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and patient care assistants.

Penn Presbyterian's emergency medical staff specializes in the immediate recognition, evaluation and treatment of unexpected illnesses or injuries. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Emergency Department provides superior, state-of-the-art emergency and critical care for more than 47,000 patients per year.

The Emergency Department primarily serves the West, South, and Southwest Philadelphia areas. Areas of Center City, Delaware, Montgomery, and Chester Counties are also served. Patients are referred to the Medical Center from the Tri-State area and arrive via personal transportation, ambulance, and helicopter. All Emergency Department visits are outpatient visits. The Emergency Department admits patients to all inpatient services. PPMC is a certified Primary Stroke Center and a STEMI-Center for the City of Philadelphia.

On February 4, 2014, PPMC became the site of Penn Medicine’s Level 1 Trauma Center. The 5 bed trauma bay is located in the Emergency Department, staffed by attending physicians from the trauma and surgical critical care division of the department of surgery, emergency medicine attending physicians, emergency nursing, and surgical/emergency medicine house staff. In FY 16, there were 2744 trauma team contacts with 1108 trauma alerts, 1063 trauma responses and 573 trauma consults. These resulted in 1634 admissions and 307 observation placements.


Our 36-bed unit and 5-bed trauma bay is well equipped to treat patients with the most serious medical conditions and injuries. Part of this renovation also included the expansion of the operating room, and the addition of 60 critical care beds in one bed tower to better serve the ever increasing needs of our patients. We also offer a "super track" area for those patients whose needs are less urgent. In addition, at peak hours there is also a provider in triage to more quickly assess, prioritize and begin the treatment process. Other special features include:

  • Private patient rooms with curtains and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors for comfort and privacy. Patient rooms are equipped with televisions and phone jacks.
  • Centralized nursing stations that allow for maximum visibility of patients, plus improved efficiency and traffic flow for staff.
  • An electronic information system that allows for patient tracking and documentation; staff know the status of each patient at a glance.
  • In-room registration at the bedside, resulting in less waiting time and enhanced privacy.
  • An immediate bedding process to ensure a more efficient flow of cases through the ED, reducing everyone's wait time overall. Our patient data confirms that this approach has reduced patients' length of stay and improved patient satisfaction.
  • Advanced triage guidelines and point of care testing which allows the clinician to assess the patient, blood test results, and x-rays all at the same time, and prescribe medical treatment much more quickly.
  • X-ray equipment and 2 state of the art CT scanners inside the Emergency Department, for more rapid imaging and diagnosis.
  • Large resuscitation bay for the treatment of the most critical care patients, including the use of therapeutic hypothermia, which can improve outcomes for some cardiac arrest patients.
  • OB/GYN equipment that meets the care and privacy needs of women experiencing a gynecologic emergency.
  • 3 negative pressure rooms for the isolation of patients with serious infectious disease.
  • An external decontamination area near the ambulance entrance that can provide care and safety for patients exposed to toxins or biohazards.

During our busiest times, there will be a provider in triage who will quickly exam and screen the patient, thereby expediting the treatment plan.

Your Visit

Coming to an emergency department can be an anxious and confusing time. Here is a quick overview of what you can expect during your visit (please see our patient visitor guide for more information):

Three Important Steps

  • Triage: Upon arrival, a registered nurse assesses every patient to determine treatment priority needs. A triage nurse will take your vitals and ask you questions about your symptoms, medical history, current medications, and allergies.
  • Medical Care: Patients with the most serious conditions are treated first. Everyone is seen as soon as possible. Depending on your needs, we will provide your treatment in either the main emergency department or our "super track" area, where we provide treatment for minor illnesses and injuries. More than one physician, nurse, or patient care assistant may see you during your stay.
  • Registration: A registration clerk will take information about you (age, religion, etc.), your insurance coverage, and your current physicians. A financial counselor may also be present to discuss insurance coverage.

Our telephone number is 215-662-8215, for general information.