Emergency Services during the Holidays

Cambridge Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department is here for you when you are very sick, injured and need emergency treatment.

If you require care during the holidays, please consider the following:

  • Call your family doctor First. Several family physician networks, the Urgent Care Clinic and some pharmacies will be open intermittently over the holidays.
  • Call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 to speak with registered nurses who can answer health-related questions.

When should I go to Emergency?

The emergency department is intended to provide emergency medical care. That is when you have a serious condition, like a heart attack, severe bleeding, head injury or any other major trauma. Don't take a chance with anything that might be life-threatening - come to the emergency department.

Sometimes it is a difficult to know when you should visit a family doctor, an urgent care clinic or when to come to the emergency department. So how do you know which is the correct course of medical attention? The following is not a complete list, but a brief guideline of problems handled best  by an emergency department:

Emergency Health Problems

For adults:

  • chest pain
  • difficulty breathing, unexpected heavy breathing or shortness of breath
  • severe bleeding or head trauma
  • sudden onset of weakness, dizziness
  • loss of consciousness
  • severe abdominal pain
  • injuries to eyes, hands, ears
  • sudden change in speech or vision
  • broken bones
  • major sprains

For children:

In addition to the list above, bring a child to the emergency department if they:

  • have persistent fever(>38.5 ºC/100.4 ºF)
  • have persistent vomiting/diarrhea
  • will not eat or drink ~ particularly young children

Minor Health Problems

While  this is not a complete list, the following is a guideline of problems suitable for your family doctor or an urgent care clinic.

  • Minor burns or injuries
  • Sprains and strains
  • Coughs, colds, and sore throats
  • Ear infections
  • Fever or flu-like symptoms
  • Skin irritations (rashes)
  • Mild asthma
  • Prescription renewals
  • Investigation of chronic problems

If you choose to visit our Emergency Department


  • Your Ontario Health Insurance Card, or medical insurance information if you live outside Ontario.
  • A supply of your medications in case you have a long wait or are admitted to hospital.
  • No more than one person to accompany you. Please ensure that your have appropriate childcare is in place for children left at home.

When you arrive:

  • A nurse will see you shortly after you arrive and determine your need for care.
  • All patients are triaged, meaning the sickest patients are treated first. Someone with a potential heart attack will be seen before someone with a sore throat.
  • A Fast Track Program is in place to help manage waiting times.
  • Waiting times may be much longer than you expect during the holidays due to the number of patients seeking treatment. Your patience and understanding is greatly appreciated.
  • If your condition worsens while you wait, please let the nurse know.

Before you leave our hospital:

  • If you decide to leave before being seen by a doctor, please speak with a nurse.
  • If seen by a doctor, be sure you understand the doctor’s instructions. If you are not sure, ask the doctor or nurse to explain it to you again.

Have a Safe and Healthy Holiday Season!

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