After a Medical Emergency, What’s Next?

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From joyful gatherings to anticipated traditions, the holiday season is filled with excitement. For many, this time of year also means taking a trip to visit loved ones or trying a new vacation destination, thus increasing the likelihood of a medical emergency away from home.

Thankfully, there are many resources to help prepare you for a medical emergency while traveling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides an extensive checklist to use while packing, and White-Wilson Medical Center’s very own Katelyn Dye, APRN offers up tips for healthy holiday travel and gatherings in this useful video. Yet, if an issue does occur, what should you do next?

“Many people assume that, after experiencing a medical emergency, everything goes back to normal,” says White-Wilson Dr. Jack Zepeda. “A patient decides they’re fine simply because of a release from urgent care or the emergency room. However, that should never be the end of it.”

If you’ve experienced any type of health issue while away from home, Dr. Zepeda advises patients to follow up with their primary care physician soon after their return. The goal of a visit with a primary care provider once home is to pinpoint exactly what happened and why, as well as ensure patients are on the correct path to recovery.

A primary care provider is specially trained in health maintenance, disease prevention, counseling and patient education. In addition to conducting annual wellness visits and routine screenings, your primary care doctor will be able to diagnose and treat minor, acute and chronic illnesses that might become evident after experiencing a health crisis.

“It’s important that proper attention is paid during a medical emergency and after,” says Dr. Zepeda. “As a family practice physician, my job is to help people do everything possible to stop incidents from repeating themselves, but I can only do that if I understand the whole story. When in doubt, always follow up with your doctor.”

After his experience working in emergency care, Dr. Zepeda believes that taking the time to listen to his patients and becoming involved early in their health journey is critical for preventing significant health issues before they become an emergency and disturb a patient’s holiday plans.

If you have experienced a medical emergency this holiday season, be sure to visit your primary care physician. Don’t have one? White-Wilson Medical Center’s award-winning team of primary care providers is here for you!


Dr. Jack Zepeda is board-certified by the American Board of Family Practice and cares for patients in White-Wilson Medical Center Fort Walton Beach. He specializes in preventative care, emphasizing whole-person care that includes regular screening, checkups and patient counseling. Learn more about Dr Zepeda and his approach to patient care here