Know Where to Go When You Need Immediate Care

When you or a loved one has a medical issue that requires immediate care, it's important to know where to go. Here is some advice from our Emergency Room staff.

Q: What is the difference between an ER and an urgent care in the area of patient care?

If you have a non-life-threatening condition like an ear infection, minor cut or muscle sprain, you can choose an urgent care center. For serious medical emergencies like chest pain or stroke, your destination should be the nearest ER. Simply put, if your life is in danger, always call 911 immediately or go to the nearest ER.

Q: What types of conditions, issues or illnesses warrant going to an ER?

Go to the nearest ER or call 911 immediately for signs of possible heart attack or stroke, serious burns, fever with rash, difficulty breathing, broken bones, severe cuts, abnormal bleeding and concussion/confusion.

Remember, certain medical conditions are simply too serious for urgent care centers and must be treated at an ER.

Q: What types of conditions, issues or illnesses warrant going to an urgent care center?

Visit an urgent care center for allergies, cold or flu, cough, minor cuts and burns, ear infections, pulled/strained muscles and urinary tract infections. It's important to remember that an urgent care center is not a replacement for a continuing relationship with a primary care physician.

Q: What if I'm not sure?

When in doubt, call 911 or go to the nearest ER. When you have a non-life-threatening emergency, know that when you visit the ER there may be patients who require more immediate treatment. You will be triaged according to the severity of your medical condition.