SAH Emergency Department

Sault Area Hospital’s (SAH) Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Fast Track Clinic is open daily from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. Our fully qualified emergency physicians and nurses treat between 45,000 and 50,000 patients per year in the Emergency Department and Fast Track Clinic. On average, almost 150 patients come through these doors every day.

At times, resources are stretched to the limit which leads to wait times that are frustrating for staff and patients. The following will help you understand when you should come to visit our emergency department, what you can expect, and how you can help us serve you more effectively.

Dr Derek Garniss

The emergency department is intended to provide emergency medical care for serious conditions such as a heart attack, severe bleeding, head injury or other major trauma. Sometimes it is difficult to know when you should visit a family doctor/walk-in clinic or when to come to the emergency department.

Emergency Health Problems

While not a complete list, the following is a guideline of problems best handled in the emergency department.

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

In addition to the above, you should bring a child to the emergency department if the child experiences:

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

Non-Urgent Health Problems

While this is not a complete list, the following is a guideline of problems suitable for your family doctor or a community walk-in 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 are not sure whether your problem is urgent, do not hesitate to come to Emergency or call Health811 by dialing 8-1-1 from a mobile or landline phone for free access to a Registered Nurse who can assess symptoms and help you decide your next step.