Wait times posted are estimates. Your personal experience may vary.

Emergency Services

**Important Update about Meningitis for UW Madison Students 

About Emergency Room Wait Times 

If you are experiencing a medical emergency and need immediate assistance, please dial 9-1-1. Patients with life-threatening conditions are cared for immediately.  

Our ER wait times are calculated in near real-time and updated every 15 minutes. The wait time is approximate and is for informational purposes only. Because new patients arrive frequently, your personal experience may vary from the posted times. Many factors can affect our wait times: for example, patients with trauma, life-threatening injuries or illness, or arriving by ambulance. Patients with a life-threatening condition will always be seen before those with less-serious illnesses or injuries.  

Always Open

The Emergency Services Department (ED), or ER, at UnityPoint Health - Meriter hospital is open 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week, 365 days-a-year to anyone who needs emergency treatment.

Meriter's ED serves more than 40,000 patients each year from Dane County and the surrounding area. We provide treatment for trauma, cardiac, stroke, pediatricorthopedic, gastrointestinal, OB/GYN, psychiatric, ear, nose, and throat, and dental care emergencies.

Our ED is staffed by physicians who are board certified in Emergency Medicine. Our registered nursing staff maintains certifications in the specialty areas of pediatric emergencies and trauma care.

We pride ourselves on easy access to care and treatment. We offer two separate, easily marked entrances - one for patients arriving on their own, and one for patients arriving via ambulance. Parking is available right next to the main ED entrance for patient convenience.

Our waiting room features a television, wireless access, current reading materials and oxygen hook-ups for pulmonary patients. Beverage and food vending machines are nearby for family and friends of patients.

Pediatric Center

The Pediatric Center, which cares for more than 5,000 children each year, was designed with the family in mind and includes a child-friendly waiting area. 

Rest assured, our team, who is specifically trained in handling children's medical needs, will work closely with you and your child's pediatrician to ensure the highest quality of care.

Forensic Nurse Examiners Program

Meriter's Forensic Nurse Examiners Program (formerly Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners or SANE program), the only one of its kind in Dane County, provides care for sexual assault victims from any surrounding community.

Chest Pain Center

Meriter's Chest Pain Center consistently achieves 'door to balloon' times (an important measure of effective heart care) within the national standard of less than 90 minutes.

During a heart attack, time is muscle. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack could save your life or the life of a loved one.

If you experience symptoms, call 911 and have emergency personnel get you to the hospital - they are experts in managing emergencies and have the knowledge and equipment needed to begin treatment of your heart. EMS maintain two-way communication with the Emergency Department, so that care can be continued as soon as you arrive at the hospital.

When to Call 911

Medical emergencies happen far more often than you may think. In Madison, one of every three persons is treated for a medical emergency each year. Chances are that you, a close friend or family member will need emergency care during the course of an average year. Because seconds can make a difference, it's important to become familiar with the emergency numbers in your area. If you live in Dane County and have a life-threatening emergency or need an ambulance, call 911.

Life-threatening situations require immediate medical intervention. Call 911 whenever the following symptoms are involved:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extensive burns
  • Weakness to one side of the body or difficulty speaking
  • Poisoning
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Severe, unaccustomed headache
  • Chemical injuries

These are only examples, of course you must use your own judgment to decide if an ambulance is needed.