Despite how uncommon it is for doctors to own their own emergency rooms, Dr. Foye Ikyaator was determined to marry her love of emergency medicine with entrepreneurial exploration.
Dr. Ikyaator is a board-certified Emergency Physician as well as an author, entrepreneur and Medical Director of Life Savers ER, the free-standing emergency room she co-founded in 2018.

Dr. Ikyaator has worked in emergency care in a variety of settings. Her depth of experience has made her more attuned to the difference in the type of care provided in a hospital versus a free-standing emergency room.

In a free-standing emergency room, for example, she said some of the “background noise” is eliminated and there is more time to focus on the patient and delve into the reasons that brought them to the ER.

“In a hospital ER, if a patient came in with hypertension, my main goal would be to get their blood pressure down and get them discharged as quickly as possible,” she said. “But in the freestanding ER, it's a bit of a slower pace. You have more time to look into the patient’s history and ask, ‘Why is your blood pressure so high? Who is your doctor? Let me get their numbers so I can talk to him about the medicine you're on and how we can better tune them to what you need.’”

In addition to having the ability to dedicate more time to the patients, Life Savers ER also has all its ancillary services like lab and imaging services in-house. This means the facility does not share resources with a large hospital life a traditional emergency room would.

“In a hospital setting, all the labs are sent to the same floor,” she said. “You never know if you’ll need to hold labs because if an ICU patient comes down, everyone has to stop. We’re all kind of shuffling back and forth on who’s more important, and patients can keep getting bumped back if an ambulance patient comes in.”

Dr. Ikyaator said patients visiting her free-standing ER get labs more quickly because everything is in the same building. Plus, the wait time is nearly nonexistent—basically how long it takes to fill out patient registration. Compared to the average hospital emergency room wait time of four hours, Life Savers no-wait policy makes a massive difference.

The elimination of long wait times means Dr. Ikyaator can see a multitude of patients, which is her favorite part of the job.

“I love being able to take care of patients acutely in their highest time of need,” she said. “In the ER, you get to see so many things and it’s that excitement of meeting new people every day with different problems, helping them resolve it and then they're happy on their way out.”

The journey to creating Life Savers ER

Dr. Ikyaator and her husband co-own Life Savers ER, with Orseer working more on administration while she focuses on medical administration. Though it is not common for doctors to own their own emergency room, her journey into medical entrepreneurism came from her curiosity about how it could benefit patients.

“I’m very business-minded and I’ve always wanted something I can call mine,” she said. “I got to see worst and best of different hospital systems and I thought to myself, ‘How can I own and operate my own freestanding ER?’”

Dr. Ikyaator began looking into State Health Department's rules and regulations and eventually hired contractors and met with architects to build her emergency room from the ground up. The venture is a rare occurrence in medicine as medical professionals are trained to provide care and not necessarily to be entrepreneurs, she said.

She also became a lab director and learned to operate the Life Savers lab.

“There are a lot of factors and it’s certainly been a journey for me,” she said “It definitely taught me that we can all achieve and accomplish what we set our minds to.”

She said her journey as an entrepreneur has taught her how to take rejection well, how to pivot, and to encourage her team to strive for the same goals she has as well as surround herself with people who have similar goals.

In addition to her full-time entrepreneurial pursuits and career as an emergency physician, Dr. Ikyaator found time to write a book: “Staying Out of the ER: A Patient’s Guide for Dealing with Common Medical Emergencies.”

The book outlines the severity of common ailments like chest pain, burns and allergic reactions and serves to educate the public about when an issue requires emergency attention.

“The book is for educational purposes—to help people know more about their bodies, their health and to take care of people around them,” she said. “I want to provide value to people’s lives and let the community know we care about them and their health.”

The ebook is free and available online. Patients can pull up the informational book to read about when to go to the emergency room and topics in emergency medicine.

To learn more about the services Life Savers ER-Heights provides, insurance information, locations and more, visit the website here. Find Dr. Ikyaator on Instagram and download her free ebook here.

The above story was written by Summer El-Shahawy, a member of Community Impact’s Storytelling team, with information solely provided by the local business as part of their “sponsored content” purchase through our advertising team. Our integrity promise to our readers is to clearly identify all CI Storytelling posts so they are separate from the content decided upon, researched, and written by our journalism department.