Sore-throats, bad cuts, headaches, chest pains, shortness of breath, strange rashes, stomach aches…we’ve all experienced one or more of these things. Many of them require medical attention. But when should a patient choose a regular urgent care center vs an emergency room like Beaumont Emergency Hospital?
Hi, I’m Dr. Williams, ER physician here locally at the Beaumont Emergency Hospital. The question of where should I go, or where should I take my child is one that I am asked time and time again. The truth is, there is not a black and white or cut and dry answer to this question.
A good rule of thumb, however, is if your sudden illness or injury is something you’re comfortable going to your primary care physician for but can’t wait until you can arrange for an appointment, then an urgent care facility may be the appropriate choice.
However, when your situation involves complex and critical needs that could prove life or limb threatening such as chest pains or injuries incurred from serious accidents, then the choice is clear. You need to come to an ER.
Of course, I wish I could give you a comprehensive list to help you make your decision easier, but I can’t. However, here are several examples that should help you have a better understanding and assist you.
Symptoms that are best evaluated in an emergency room include:
- Persistent chest pain, especially if it radiates to your arm or jaw or is accompanied by sweating, vomiting or shortness of breath.
- Difficulty breathing
- Any severe pain, particularly in the abdomen or starting halfway down the back Sudden clumsiness, loss of balance or fainting
- Sudden difficulty speaking, or trouble understanding speech
- Altered mental status or confusion, including suicidal thoughts Sudden weakness or paralysis, especially on one side of the face or body Severe heart palpitations
- Sudden, severe headache
- Sudden testicular pain and swelling
- A newborn baby with a fever (a baby less than three months old with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher needs to be seen right away)
- Falls that cause injury or occur while taking blood thinning medications
- Sudden vision changes, including blurred or double vision and full or partial vision loss
- Broken bones or dislocated joints Deep cuts that require stitches — especially on the face — or a large open wound that won’t stop bleeding
- Head or eye injuries Severe flu or cold symptoms
- High fevers or fevers with a rash
- Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
- Severe and persistent vomiting or diarrhea Serious burns
- Seizures without a previous diagnosis of epilepsy
Of course, there is no way we could cover every potential reason for a visit to the ER. At the end of the day, better safe than sorry is the right choice. If your instinct or your motherly intuition tells you it’s serious, don’t hesitate. Go to the emergency room ASAP.
And if you’re just not sure…come see us here at Beaumont Emergency Hospital. We’ll let you know if we’re the right place for you to be or if you’ll be just fine at the local urgent care facility.
I hope this short video has helped put your mind at ease and increased your understanding of when a visit to the Emergency Room is the right call. And while we hope we never have to see you here at Beaumont Emergency Hospital, know that we will always be ready 24 hours a day to take care of any medical situation you are faced with.