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How To Decide Between Your Doctor, Urgent Care, And The Emergency Room

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If you or a loved one become ill or injured and require medical attention, you have the choice of seeing your primary care physician, going to an urgent or quick care center, or going to the hospital's emergency room. While it is entirely up to you where to go, there are a few things you need to consider as you head out the door or pick up the phone. 

Emergency Room

If the situation involves chest pain, the person is unconscious or completely incapacitated mentally or physically, bleeding profusely, or has an obvious broken bone, you need the emergency room. In fact, you should probably call for an ambulance. Another time you should use the emergency room is when there is no other medical facility open at the time and the patient is in extreme pain or distress.

Urgent Care Clinic

When the patient is obviously ill, and you cannot get a same-day appointment with your primary care physician, or the injury requires immediate care but is not life-threatening, go to an urgent care clinic. The professionals there can prescribe medications, give referrals to specialists, and stitch up wounds. However, the center may not have all the equipment to properly diagnose the problem. When this is the situation, they will send you to an emergency room where they have the labs and equipment to help.

Primary Care Physician

Your primary care physician is the place to go for most illnesses. If they need further diagnostics to determine the best course of action, they will send you to a lab facility to have the tests done. This is the facility that has all your prior medical history so they know your normal state of health and can help remedy the situation quickly. 

Choosing to go to the wrong facility can mean you have to wait extra long to be seen. If you walk into an emergency room with the flu, you are probably going to have to wait until the people there who have serious injuries or a life-threatening condition are seen first. However, if you go to an urgent care facility and the situation is beyond their equipment, you will either be taken to an emergency room by ambulance or told to go there. Going to either of these places when you could have simply seen your regular doctor will often result in you being seen and then told to make an appointment with your doctor anyway. Save time, and pain, and choose wisely where to go when you need medical care. If you have questions, reach out to a company like West Ocean City Injury & Illness Center.