emergency department

Emergency Care
24 Hours a Day, 365 Days a Year

The Emergency Department at Nantucket Cottage Hospital offers 24-hour emergency care to the community. The Emergency Department is the hospital's busiest department serving numerous members of the community with a variety of medical needs. The Emergency Department is fortunate in having available state-of-the-art equipment to assist in meeting our patients' needs. Our physicians, physician assistants, and nurses are specially trained in emergency medicine and advanced cardiac life support.

Immediate access to air transport in an emergency situation is just one of the many ways NCH helps to assure that patients will receive quality patient care. In the event a physician decides that a patient needs to be transferred, a helipad is available on the hospital grounds.

Nantucket Cottage Hospital Emergency Department
Emergency Department

Our purpose is to treat patients who have an acute illness or injury and to serve as a back-up health care resource if your own physician is unavailable.

A trip to the Emergency Department (ED) can be stressful for patients and their loved ones. We strive to make your visit as pleasant and comfortable as possible.
Features of the Emergency Department:
  • Two trauma rooms
  • Triage center
  • Four exam rooms
  • Comfortable waiting room
  • State-of-the-art EMS equipment

Step 1: Check-In/Triage
Tell the nurse in triage, or, if triage is busy, let the ED clerk know what help you need. You will be seen in triage by a medical specialist to briefly evaluate the nature and severity of your illness. Your vital signs will be taken. This determines the order in which you will receive a medical screening exam. It is not the actual exam.

Step 2: Registration
After being triaged you will proceed to Registration and provide your health insurance and billing information. Your ED Record will then be generated.

Step 3: The Waiting Area
Stay in the Waiting Area to be called for your medical screening exam and/or tests. Our goal is to see patients as soon as possible, but patients who may be critically ill or injured are always treated first. This may make your visit longer than anticipated. Even if it appears there are few patients, reasons why you may be waiting include:

  • We may be trying to contact your family doctor or a specialist.
  • We may be waiting for the results of blood tests, x-rays, or other tests.
  • We may be reviewing your medical record.
If at any time you feel worse between the time you are triaged and the time you are called for your medical screening exam, go to the ED Clerk's desk (not to the Registration Clerk) to notify a member of the ED immediately. You may then need to be re-triaged.

We appreciate your patience and understanding. We understand that it is frustrating to wait, but it may be life-threatening to leave without being seen.

Leaving Without Being Seen
If you have been waiting a long time, you may be tempted to leave before you receive a medical screening examination. You have the legal right to do this.

We strongly discourage leaving without being seen. Leaving the ED without being screened is a serious, perhaps life-threatening, decision that should not be made out of frustration.

If you are still determined to leave, we ask you to notify a member of the ED staff. Remember, even if you decide to leave, you may return at any time for evaluation and treatment.


Step 4: Medical Screening Exam
Depending on the severity of your condition, we may arrange to transport you to another facility.

You will be escorted into an exam room for the medical screening exam. You have the right, within the capabilities of the hospital’s ED staff and equipment, to have an appropriate medical screening exam performed by a qualified medical person. The purpose of this medical screening exam is to determine if you are suffering from an emergency medical condition, and to address your presenting complaint to the best of our ability.

If you are suffering from an emergency medical condition, our medical personnel will determine if your condition can be safely treated at Nantucket Cottage Hospital or if we should stabilize your condition and arrange to have you transferred to another facility equipped with specialized staff or equipment to treat your specific medical condition.

You will receive these services even if you cannot pay. You do not need to have medical insurance or Medicare or Medicaid coverage to receive this help.

Nantucket Cottage Hospital is a not-for-profit community hospital dedicated to providing quality health services to the community regardless of one's ability to pay. The hospital will be the point of access to the Nantucket community for wellness and prevention, emergency, primary, home and continuous care.

Step 5: Check Out/Cashier
When your examination and any testing or treatment have been addressed, you will be given discharge and follow-up instructions related to your specific condition, in addition to a charge slip for your visit. Proceed to the check out/cashier window. Here you may ask any further non-medical questions about your visit. Also, you will be asked to pay your insurance co-pay, if any, or to make a payment for the services you have received. The cashier can also help you contact the hospital's Social Services Department to apply for programs to assist you in meeting your financial responsibility for the care you received in the ED.


We understand your desire to be with loved ones during a time of stress. However, visitors may unintentionally interfere with our ability to treat patients effectively and our ability to preserve other patients' rights to privacy and confidentiality. If we ask visitors to remains in the Waiting Area, it is only with the welfare of all ED patients in mind.

We will attempt, to the best of our ability, to keep loved ones informed of a patient's condition and progress.

Parents may stay with a young child.

We Welcome Your Comments
We strive constantly to improve our ED and the quality of care we provide. Please feel free to contact us with your comments. We appreciate your help and suggestions.

Nantucket Cottage Hospital is an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of Partners HealthCare.