In Case of Emergency

Published On June 10, 2013 | May/June 2013

First Choice ER

Dr. Van Roekel’s first priority is making patients feel comfortable during their emergencies.


The word emergency doesn’t scare him. Dr. Stephen Van Roekel knew he wanted to practice emergency medicine after witnessing a fatal bus accident in college.

Dr. Stephen Van Roekel, Facility Medical Director of First Choice Emergency Room’s newest location in the Arboretum, works hard to make patients feel comfortable during emergency situations.

“I’m a big believer in Magic Johnson’s quote: ‘Attitude is everything’”, explained Dr. Van Roekel.

Growing up with multiple doctors in the family, Dr. Van Roekel realized early on he wanted to follow in their footsteps. After graduating from Michigan State University, where he played forward on the men’s basketball team, Dr. Van Roekel received his medical education at Des Moines University. He completed his emergency medicine residency at the University of Louisville, and is now a fellow of the both the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine.

In 2002, Dr. Van Roekel moved to Houston to practice emergency medicine within the Memorial and Methodist hospital systems, as well as Houston Northwest and Cypress Fairbanks Medical Centers. In 2010, he joined the First Choice ER team and accepted an opportunity to move to Austin.

“I jumped at the chance to move to Austin, everyone is so inviting and I feel more relaxed,” he said.

Earlier this year, he was named the Facility Medical Director of First Choice ER’s Arboretum location.

Different from urgent care clinics, First Choice ER is a true emergency room; open 24 hours, 7 days per week and staffed exclusively with board-certified emergency physicians and emergency trained registered nurses. The facilities are equipped with state of the art diagnostic technology, including CT scanners, ultrasound machines, digital x-rays and on-site COLA & CLIA accredited laboratories to handle emergency needs on the spot.

First Choice Emergency Room currently has 17 facilities: 5 in DFW, 9 in Houston, 2 in Austin (Arboretum and Pflugerville) and 1 in Colorado Springs.

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