Emergency Care for Patients of The James

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1 PATIENT EDUCATION patienteducation.osumc.edu Emergency Care for Patients of The James Emergency Care During and After Treatment Here are guidelines about when and how to report problems that you may have while being treated for your cancer. Your doctor may give you more detailed instructions on how to manage certain problems. At the end of this handout you will find a symptom chart and a list to write down your important medical phone numbers. You may have problems that need to be checked by your doctor. Sometimes a problem is minor and can wait for medical attention. Other times, a problem may be serious or even life threatening and needs medical attention right away. Talk with your doctor about what treatment side effects may happen and when you should call to report a problem. When the Doctor s Office is Closed If you need to call your doctor after regular office hours, you may reach a voice mail or an answering service. Your doctor or the doctor on call is contacted and will call you back to discuss your problem. Medicine Refills Keep track of your medicines to know when you need a refill. Remember to check your supply of medicines before the weekend or before going on a vacation. Call your doctor s office during regular business hours to get a refill. When you need a refill, call your doctor 1 week before you will run out of medicine. This will give your doctor enough time to order the medicine for you. This handout is for informational purposes only. Talk with your doctor or health care team if you have any questions about your care. April 11, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

2 Symptoms and When to Call to Your Doctor Symptom Common Problem Action Bleeding Blood in vomit or stool Nose Eye Petechiae (pin point red dots under the surface of the skin) Apply first aid (pinch the nose, put head forward, apply ice pack to nose and back of neck). If still bleeding after 10 minutes, call the doctor. hours or bruises Urine Call your doctor right away unless you have been given different instructions. Vagina Fever Temperature Call your doctor right away if you have a fever of degrees F (38 degrees C) or higher. Do not take Tylenol, aspirin, Ibuprofen or Aleve before you call the doctor about a fever. Cold symptoms Cough Shortness of breath Change in level of alertness Sore throat, runny nose Unable to wake up or speak Call 911. Severe headache Confusion Dizziness or lightheadedness

3 Symptom Common Problem Action Central Venous A tear or crack in the Catheter (CVC) catheter Implantable Port Unable to flush catheter Tenderness, redness or drainage where the catheter comes out of the skin Vomiting or nausea Blood in vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds Mouth sores Diarrhea (liquid stool, watery, without form) Skin rashes, sores or lesions Unable to keep medicines, food or fluids down Feel lightheaded and dizzy Unable to swallow fluids or unable to keep food or medicines down Stool that has blood in it or looks like black tar Increase in the amount and number of times you have diarrhea Call your doctor right away unless you have been given different instructions. Any new symptom Eyes Visual changes Redness or drainage Dry, itchy Joint or bone pain, or joint swelling Abdominal pain or cramping Chest pain Any new symptoms or if pain medicine is needed Severe pain or pain that continues for over 24 hours Pressure or crushing pain in the middle of your chest that may go across your chest to your shoulders, arms (one or both), neck or back Call 911. Indigestion Stomach pain or gas

4 Symptom Common Problem Action New feeling Problems with walking, of weakness/ going up and down stairs, numbness in legs getting out of a chair or car and arms due to leg weakness. New problems with bladder and/or bowel control Numbness in anal area Neck or back pain Problems with holding on to things, lifting your arms due to weakness in your arms. Problem with being able to completely empty your bladder. Problems with controlling your bowel movements or urine (wetting oneself). Feeling of numbness when you wipe after going to the bathroom New pain in your neck or back Write down your important medical phone numbers. It is helpful to keep a copy of this information on your refrigerator and in your purse or wallet. Important Medical Phone Numbers Emergency Squad (Ambulance) Cancer Doctor 911 Call this number in a medical emergency Call the doctor for non-emergencies and prescription refills during regular business If you call this number after hours or weekends, the doctor on call will be paged.

5 Nurse Practitioner Family/Primary Doctor The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Hospital Operator (614) Call this number for non-emergencies and prescription refills during regular business Call this number for routine problems that are not a side effect of your cancer treatments. Call this number after 5pm on weekdays, weekends and holidays. The operator will page the doctor on call.

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