You are the triage nurse and have one bed available in the ED. Which patient do you bring back first?


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- Altered mental status with fever

- Headache with photophobia

- Swelling of fingers and a ring that needs to be cut off

- 28 week pregnant woman with leg swelling


Anyone who is altered and febrile is at potential risk for infection or worse sepsis. These patients need to be seen sooner rather than later. Swelling of the legs is expected in pregnancy and a headache with photophobia is stable. The patient with finger swelling will probably be pulled back next to at least start the process of cutting the ring to avoid losing their finger.

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