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Emergency Department

(415) 353-1037

The emergency department at UCSF Helen Diller Medical Center at Parnassus Heights provides care for patients with urgent medical conditions, ranging from complex events, such as heart attacks and strokes, to simple but pressing injuries, such as deep cuts and broken bones. We are open every day, 24 hours a day, and serve more than 40,000 patients a year. We are the Bay Area's only Level 1 geriatric emergency department and serve as a primary stroke and STEMI receiving center. (STEMI refers to an especially serious type of heart attack.) We offer around-the-clock social work services, as well as care navigation for individuals with substance use disorders.

Our team includes board-certified emergency medicine doctors, nurses trained in emergency and critical care, and other specialists we can call upon as needed. We have access to experts in cardiology, neurology, gynecology, orthopedics, geriatrics, organ transplantation, surgery and other disciplines.

The emergency department features:

  • Waiting room with TV, accessible bathroom facilities and 24-hour security
  • Private exam and treatment rooms
  • Digital radiology suite
  • Bedside ultrasound to speed evaluation, when appropriate
  • Rapid registration and triage of patients to minimize wait times
  • Fast-track treatment for minor problems, such as ankle sprains, cuts and broken bones
  • Computerized tracking system, charting and discharge instructions, all designed to enhance patient privacy, safety and after-care treatment

Emergency care for children and pregnant people

Patients 17 and younger are best seen at the emergency department of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco. This department also serves pregnant patients.

Screening and acute care clinic

The UCSF Screening & Acute Care Clinic sees patients with medical problems that are not life-threatening but need same-day evaluation. The clinic operates on a walk-in appointment basis. Appointments are scheduled until all time slots are filled.

The Mill Valley clinic is open evenings and weekends. You can walk in or make an online appointment.

Specialty services

The UCSF emergency department has state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and provides specialized care that isn't always available at community emergency departments. Specialty services for complex medical problems include:

  • Cardiac catheterization lab and emergency angioplasty. Patients experiencing chest pain are immediately evaluated with an electrocardiogram, a test that assesses the heart's electrical activity. If a heart attack is diagnosed, the patient is promptly seen by a cardiologist and may be sent to our catheterization lab for further evaluation and possible treatment by an interventional radiologist. In the case of a heart attack, arteries flowing to the heart are examined. If an artery is obstructed, a procedure is performed through a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) to open the artery and reestablish blood flow to the heart.
  • Stroke consultations. A neurologist is available 24 hours a day to evaluate stroke patients. Prompt treatments are also available, such as thrombolytic therapy, in which clot-busting medications are used to break up blood clots, the main cause of heart attack and stroke. The UCSF Stroke Clinic has been certified by the Joint Commission as a primary stroke center, the first hospital in San Francisco to receive this designation.
  • Age-friendly emergency department (AFED) consultations. Patients 65 years and up may receive additional assessments by our geriatric-focused AFED team, which includes doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and social workers. The team will communicate with your primary care provider and furnish ongoing support while you're in the hospital.

Our locations

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    Decorative Caduceus

    Naloxone for Opioid Associated Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest

    Survival to hospital discharge is defined as patient is discharged from the hospital acute care unit alive regardless of neurological status, outcome or destination.


    Decorative Caduceus

    Break Wave(TM) Extracorporeal Lithotripter First-in-Human Study

    Stone fragmentation as determined by stone passage or imaging confirmation.


    Awards & recognition

    • Gold Level 1 (highest) accreditation for geriatric emergency care

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