Emergency Medicine

902 North 7th Street
Cordele, GA 31015

When emergencies happen, it’s good to know that compassionate, quality emergency care is available close to home. The Crisp Regional Hospital Emergency Department sees approximately 22,000 patients every year and offers 24-hour care by specially trained clinicians committed to providing patients with quick, capable, and compassionate care. Our full-time emergency medicine specialists are certified in Advanced Trauma Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Pediatric Advanced Life Support. They collaborate with specialists as needed, including general surgery, orthopedics, cardiology, and others. Our Emergency Department nurses also have received specialty training and certifications.

It is important to be prepared for an emergency at all times. To expedite treatment, we encourage you to carry an information card with the following information, along with your insurance card and photo identification.

  • Name and telephone number of your primary care physician
  • Name and telephone number of your next of kin
  • A list of medications and drug allergies
  • Advance Directives: Living Wills, Do-Not-Resuscitate orders, Power of Attorney, etc.
  • Shortness of breath

For minor bumps, burns, sprains, strains, colds, and coughs that don’t require emergency-level attention, visit the Crisp Regional Convenient Care.

How to Know Where to Go

Often, urgent care is the most appropriate and efficient option for care for your illness or injury. But how do you know whether to visit the hospital emergency room or an urgent care clinic? Knowing the difference and where to seek treatment could save your life in an emergency.

Emergency Room Care

The Emergency Department was designed to provide fast, life-or-limb-saving care. Many people seek urgent care there as well. If you’re ever in doubt, it’s better to be safe and go to the closest emergency room. These are just a few of the conditions that are medical emergencies, best seen in the Emergency Department:

  • Any life- or limb-threatening illness or injury
  • Persistent chest pain, especially if radiating to your arm or jaw or accompanied by sweating, vomiting, or shortness of breath.
  • Persistent shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Severe pain
  • Loss of balance or fainting
  • Difficulty speaking, altered mental status, or confusion
  • Weakness or paralysis
  • Severe heart palpitations
  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Sudden testicular pain and swelling
  • Newborn baby with a fever or children with high fever
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Loss of vision
  • Broken bones or dislocated joints
  • Deep cuts that require stitches – especially on the face
  • Head, neck, or eye injuries
  • Severe flu or cold symptoms
  • High fevers or fevers with a rash
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Vaginal bleeding with pregnancy
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Serious burns
  • Seizures without a previous diagnosis of epilepsy

Your physician may also send you to the emergency room if you have an underlying condition, such as hypertension or diabetes, which may complicate your diagnosis and require extra care.

When to Call 911

Sometimes driving yourself or a loved one to the emergency room is not the best option. If in doubt, you should call 911. Do not drive if you are having severe chest pain or bleeding if you feel like you may faint or your vision is impaired. For certain medical emergencies, including heart attack and stroke, an ambulance is the best option for transportation to the hospital because paramedics can begin life-saving care on the way.

Urgent Care

Many people visit the emergency room when their doctor’s office isn’t open or when they need immediate care. Some physician offices now offer same-day appointments for care. Crisp Regional Convenient Care is also an option when appointments are unavailable or if you need treatment outside of office hours.

Urgent care centers are same-day clinics for a variety of conditions that need immediate attention. Symptoms urgent care can treat include:

  • Fever without rash
  • Minor trauma such as a common sprain
  • Painful urination
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Severe sore throat
  • Vomiting

If your symptoms develop gradually or you already know the diagnosis, such as a urinary tract infection, a same-day appointment with your primary care provider may be your best option. While urgent care clinics are always available, your primary care physician knows your overall health for a more accurate diagnosis.

Any life- or limb-threatening illness or injury should always seek treatment at the Emergency Department (ED).

What to Expect in the Emergency Department

Upon arrival, a triage nurse will evaluate you. The triage process is a quick assessment of your medical condition to determine your condition’s seriousness and the order in which medical professionals will see patients. In addition to obtaining your name, date of birth, Social Security Number, and the main reason for your visit, the nurse will check your vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, etc.). The seriousness of your condition will determine the next steps.

Our goal is always to have you in an exam/treatment room within 15 minutes of your arrival, based on your triage assessment. If your condition is more emergent,  the doctor will see you immediately.

The Emergency Department has 18 beds, including two large trauma rooms, that occupy 12,000 square feet.


For serious emergencies that present a significant threat to life or limb, patients are seen immediately. Such conditions include chest pain, possible stroke, and severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

Patients suffering a heart attack or stroke can receive “clot busters” (thrombolytics) in the Emergency Department if treatment begins within established timeframes. Always seek treatment immediately if you experience symptoms of a heart attack or stroke.

As a Level 3 Trauma Center, we are readily available to patients for evaluation and stabilization, and we will transfer you for a higher level of care when needed.

A Patient’s Story

After driving all night, Karyl Purol thought her husband was tired and had fallen asleep at the wheel when he drove off the highway and partially across the median. Headed to Florida on I-75 South, she grabbed the wheel from the front passenger seat and returned the car to the left lane of traffic when police lights began flashing behind them. She wasn’t sure what had happened to her husband, Gary, but Karyl managed to steer the car across three lanes to the right shoulder, where Gary stopped the car.

Ticketed for reckless driving and not using a turn signal, and after choking on some water, Gary drove to the next exit – Exit 106. When they were parked and both out of the car, Karyl saw Gary fall to the ground, hitting his head on a cement platform. What she didn’t realize was that her husband was having a stroke.

Coincidentally, the same policeman arrived in the same parking lot and called for an ambulance. They quickly made their way to Crisp Regional Hospital at Exit 101. Gary was taken directly to medical imaging for a CT scan to assess his condition — he was “flaccid” and couldn’t lift his arms and legs. He received TPA (clotbusters or thrombolytics), and while initially, he couldn’t repeat a sentence, within an hour, he spoke clearly, was stabilized, and moved to ICU. After four days in ICU, Gary was moved to a regular room where he stayed two more days.

“Everybody was really nice,” said Karyl. “And the policeman excused the traffic violations!” The police officer had followed Karyl and the ambulance to the hospital, where his wife also works.

“Everyone knew what they had to do, and they did it!” Karyl recalls. “They were so thorough … just wonderful.”

“This is where I would want to come if ANY emergency happened,” said Melinda Adkins, RN, director of ED nursing. “In south Georgia, bigger is not always better. The care, expertise, and compassion found here are the best I know.”

Meet Our Team

Kenneth Benjamin, MD

  • Emergency Medicine

Sheila Southerland, MD

  • Emergency Medicine

Michael Sonntag, DO

  • Emergency Medicine

Joseph Sonntag, DO

  • Emergency Medicine

Cherinor Sillah, MD

  • Emergency Medicine

Ron Huet, MD

  • Emergency Medicine

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