If a British Doctor Invites You to ‘Surgery,’ Should You Be Worried?
In the U.S., A&E refers to a cable channel with lifestyle infotainment. In the UK, the locals refer to the “accident and emergency” wing of their hospitals as “the A&E.” The British use the term Emergency Room to refer to the places inside the A&E where medical work is performed, while the phrase “attending A&E” means getting emergency care in what is known as the “casualty department.” Yet Americans simplify by calling the whole hospital wing “the ER.”
It’s important that American visitors to Britain learn to say “A&E.” After all, unpleasant surprises can happen anywhere, even in a safe and charming place like the United Kingdom. Think of the poor bloke who recently somehow ended up under a bus and was whisked away to King’s College Hospital, where his medical care was recorded during an episode of 24 Hours in the ER. You can be sure he’s happy that a bystander knew to ask for the “A&E” — not “the ER.”