If for example your girlfriend (or boyfriend) is admitted to the emergency room and isn't able to contact you how do you know that they were hurt? Like if you're at work does the hospital call you or something? Do you have to be their emergency contact or have power of attorney or whatever? Anyone that's been in this type of situation how did you find out? by the way purely hypothetical question. My girlfriend is perfectly fine and texting me right now. I just am worried if something happens im not gonna know what happened or where she is.
They call emergency contact and only if there's an emergency. If she takes herself to emergency, they're not calling anyone. You'd only find out if she calls you or the emergency contact calls you. And as I said, they only get a call if there is an emergency and she can't for whatever reason sign the forms or provide consent. If she's not old enough that person HAS to be her parent/guardian already.
The hospital will call you, if you're an emergency contact. If not, you won't know until someone closer to her finds out and lets you know. It's entirely possible you don't find out until your girlfriend herself messages you potentially several days later.
Assuming she can talk and is with the program then if she adds you as an emergency contact you will be the first one who is called for any changes in her status and so on. That is assuming she is 18 or older. It goes on a facesheet that is kept with the chart. However, at our hospital, if she is able to talk and with the program then we will not just contact you because you are the emergency contact with everything, that responsibility will fall to her to give you updates to try to avoid any problems with HIPPA. But you both can also set up a code word that goes into the chart and as long as you call and know that word they will give you any updates you would like.
If she made you her emergency contact, then the hospital would contact you. If you know which hospital she is in, you can contact them and ask if your girlfriend (present her full name and your relation to her) if she was admitted to that hospital. You can go there or call whichever is convenient for you.