Excluding childbirth, how many medical emergencies do most people have

How many times in a person’s life does the average person (in a wealthy western country) need emergency medical treatment, emergency surgery or elective surgery?

Are you polling for lists of personal hospitalizations? I have no idea what the average would be.

At the age of 19, I’ve only required one emergency hospital visit, and that was when I required emergency surgery to repair my finger from a firearm mishap, so by that math, if I live to be 100, I’ll require 4 trips to the emergency room.

Does it need to be more than once to matter?

I’m not sure what you mean. You mean more than once for the same condition? If you are hospitalized 3x for the same condition, I’d consider that a single medical emergency just spread out.

I am 30 and I think I’ve only been hospitalized once, but it wasn’t technically necessary, it was a precaution. I’ve had one minor surgical procedure done outpatient under local anesthesia for a non-life threatening condition. No life threatening illnesses so far.

I wonder if it is fairly common to make it to 70 and never need emergency medical treatment, hospitalization or elective surgery.

There is no “average person.” Do you mean on average, how many emergency medical treatments do people in Western countries require in their lifetimes?

The last time I needed a full body x-ray, the doctor reading it looked at me and said “Mr Kopek? I see you have lead an interesting life. And there are a couple things there that you must tell me about some day over coffee” And that was just from the bones basically; the rest of me isn’t any better. I have a heart related condition that has had me in the ER a few times. OK - more than a few times. At our old hospital this lead to an interesting situation; my wife had snapped her ankle and I was taking her inside using a wheel chair that had been left at the door. Before I could say anything the triage nurse came at me with heart leads in his hands. I had to quickly say “NO!!! Not me this time!!! See??? Wheelchair - wife with a Mickey Mouse foot! I’m fine but she isn’t”.

Average I’m not ------ but when Divine Providence got sold out, the staff I most always dealt with gave me my usual cubicle curtain as a present and they all autographed it. I treasure it greatly.

I really suspect that if you graphed this, it would NOT be a normal bell curve: I think you’d have a LOT of people who’d never had any emergencies at all, or who had had one - three, and then a fairly small group who’d had a LOT of emergencies, and not a whole lot of people in the middle, who’d had an “average” number.
Partially this is because medical emergencies tend to share common causes, even if they aren’t directly related–someone living an active lifestyle is more likely to break a bone, for example.

Some of it is personality: some people are more likely to decide something is an emergency than others.

Some of it, I swear, is luck. This is purely anecdotal, but in my own experience it sure does seem like some people just can’t get a break, medically.

Children under the age of two would be a special category: it sure seems to me that most people go to the emergency room a couple times between 0-2 because children of that age often need care more quickly than an adult with similar symptoms.

Define average please.

What I mean by that is, We respond to some community’s a whole lot more than other community’s. It can depend on the amount of subsidized residences.

For the average working class American family I would say less than 1% for emergency medical treatment, but that will also not figure in those who should have used the system but did not.
Just my $0.02

I don’t know what constitutes average, maybe I should’ve said median. Some people have 20+ surgeries and emergencies before they are 20, and some people have none.

I am guessing it is like Manda Jo said some have tons and some have almost none.

Partly why I asked is because modern medicine didn’t even exist 150 years ago (it started in the mid 19th century with anesthetic, antiseptics and a better understanding of anatomy & physiology). Before then if you had a medical emergency, you died or tried to survive w/o intervention.

So the concept that many people have multiple medical emergencies didn’t make sense to me since there was nothing you could do but die up until a few generations ago. Which people did, and life expectancy was lower.

My dad has had at least 10 (probably more) medical emergencies, surgeries and hospitalizations. My mom, who is about the same age, has had 0 that I know of (excluding childbirth).

But it seems like even if the only medical interventions you have are sanitation, antibiotics, vaccines and decent food that life expectancy jumps to 70+ (based on what I’ve read of poor countries implementing those advances). So on the whole, you’d assume life threatening medical emergencies aren’t that common if people in the developing world who don’t have hospitals can still live to their 60s and 70s.

Of course in those situations, people still have medical emergencies that would get them sent to an ER or hospital in the west, but they just try and wait it out since they don’t have hospital access.

I wouldn’t think so. I’ve been to the emergency room 4 or 5 times, and I’m 34. A lot of emergency room visits are things that could be handled by a doctor, except for the fact that they happened at a time when doctors are closed.

Age 9 – fell and ripped my knee open on some exposed nails – needed stitches.
Age 14 – fell off a horse, broke my wrist, needed it set
Age 22 – allergic reaction to penicillin in the middle of the night (was being treated for Step throat, not an emergency)
Age 27 – fell off a horse again, injured my hips (not permanently, fairly severe soft tissue injury) – due to a variety of factors it was 11pm on Memorial day before I got to the ER.

You’ll note that in all of these cases, had my only treatment been “wait it out” I still would have survived, but with decreased quality of life. For example if my wrist hadn’t been set properly, it might not function properly now.

I’ve never been admitted to a hospital, but I’ve had several outpatient surgeries (dental surgery at 23, and when I was 9 or so, the doc carved this weird chunk out of my foot, that turned out to have a piece of glass embedded in it) and I’ve been in physical therapy twice (once for the hip thing, the other type for repetitive stress injuries in my arm). All of these are about quality of life, not raw survival.

If by “emergency” you mean “death imminent or likely if untreated” then I have never had one. My mom has though - she had an ectopic pregnancy which exploded her fallopian tube. She very easily could have bled to death internally.

Heart attacks, stroke, broken limbs, injuries from trauma (from handling household items such as knifes to car accidents), allergic reactions, etc etc etc…

When I was a kid i had a mastoid operation. it was a big deal.
I had rheumatic fever twice.
I had an appendix burst.
I had 2 bowel obstructions.
I had a hernia operation.
In the last 40 years I have not been in a hospital.

I’ve always wondered how normal I was. I’ve never been to the hospital for any emergency. No broken bones, sprains, concussions, appendix issues.

I’m not really super athletic (I go to the gym–no real sports outside of a padded room, heh). Maybe that’s why?

I’m not sure why you think you’re making a valid distinction here but you’re not. If, on average, people have 5 emergency visits in their lifetime then the average person with respect to medical emergencies has 5 visits. If you die on your 5th emergency visit then you would be an “average person”.

It’s just a clear easily understood shorthand for what you managed to say no more clearly in many more words.

Hale and hearty 62-year-old reporting in…

Emergency Room - maybe five times, all for broken bones (once, foot bone) or stitches (the rest of the time). Nothing in the life-or-death category

Emergency surgery - never

Elective surgery - once (a vasectomy, in and out of the hospital within an hour)

Do things like routine colonoscopies or MRIs count?

Hm. Things like kidney stones and gallstones must count, too, then.

As for myself and ER trips, I’ve lost count. I’ve led a rough yet interesting and mostly fun life.

If you don’t take a trip to the ER every now and then, you ain’t tryin’.

Yeah, same here. 0 for me.

When I was kid, I was accident prone. I was probably in the ER about 10 times for miscellaneous accidents and injuries. Sledding, falling, etc. If I was born 30 years later, my parents would have probably been investigated for child abuse. But all my injuries were all the result of my klutzinest.

Since 12 yrs old, only once. For kidney stones at 4 am. not that the ER did any good.

I have never been operated on, unless you call wisdom teeth extraction surgery. I have my tonsils, my adenoids, everything that was mine when I was born.

I was a klutz when I was a kid, but I was a healthy klutz. I never had one of the childhood diseases of the 60’s and 70s (born in 1961). No chicken pox, no mumps, no measles, no german measles.

I have never had a flu shot, and I think I have had a serious case of the flu just twice in my life. Once was about 10 yrs ago and the other was about 25 yrs ago. I seldom get colds.

I think the reason for my relatively healthy life is my lack of exposure to children

Of course you know this means we’re going to walk outside tomorrow morning and get hit by a bus or something.