When a medical need arises, it’s hard to make fast and accurate decisions. Should you call for an ambulance? Should you go to the emergency room? Should you try an emergency walk in clinic? If you’ve thought about the decision in advance, it’ll be easier to know what to do when the moment of truth arrives.
A call to 911 for emergency help is the last thing you should do, and you should only do this if someone has fallen ill or been injured in a way that requires immediate attention. This means they or you are in such bad shape that you cannot get them to a hospital or even an emergency walk in clinic alone or safely. For example, if you are alone and have been passing out, or having chest pain, you should never attempt to drive yourself anywhere. If someone has lost a limb, ambulance professionals are the right ones to get them to an emergency room. If someone has hurt their neck or back, you should never attempt to move them yourself. Call for EMT’s and an ambulance to take care of this situation.
Go To the Hospital Emergency Room
This is for situations that require either rapid treatment or advanced treatment that only a hospital can provide. For example, a hospital can provide surgery, but an emergency walk in clinic can not. If someone has broken a bone and it’s sticking out, for example, they will need surgery. If you suspect someone has broken a bone, but no bone is visible, the injury is not to the neck or back, and no limb is obviously out of place, it’s likely that a visit to the emergency walk in clinic is a good first stop.
Other symptoms that should be checked out at the hospital and not at an after hours urgent care facility are sudden severe pain; persistent chest pain; difficulty breathing; sudden difficulty in speaking, standing, or understanding others; sudden paralysis; heart palpitations; sudden changes in vision; deep cuts or open wounds; injuries to the eyes or head; fever in an newborn infant; serious burns; or seizures that happen in a person without an established history of epilepsy.
Go To An Emergency Walk In Clinic
Urgent care facilities are great for medical problems that need to be seen right away, but which are not life-threatening emergencies. They are also cheaper than the ER or calling 911, and waiting times at a walk in clinic are typically much shorter than in a hospital ER.
Go to the emergency walk in clinic if you or someone in your family has a fever without a rash; ear pain; has a cold, flu, or sore throat and cannot wait till the next day to see the family physician; finds it painful to urinate; has diarrhea; is vomiting without blood; or has had a minor trauma such as a sprain, a fracture, or a shallow cut.
If you think in advance about when to use different medical facilities, you’ll be able to make the right choice when an urgent situation arises. Make sure everyone in your family knows how and when to call 911, and make sure you know where your nearest ER and walk in clinics are located. Then you’ll be ready when medical needs arise.