Emergency Rooms Versus Urgent Care Centers
OKLAHOMA CITY - When you have a pressing medical problem, do you head to the emergency room or an urgent care center? We found out, it depends on what ails you.
A sports injury left Cyril Forde with two fractures in his right hand.
"This was the result of one hard shot. Somebody much younger and robust in his soccer skills," Forde said.
He chose to seek treatment at an urgent care center rather than the emergency room.
"It's great, very convenient, very quick," he said.
Urgent care medical director Judah Fierstein said urgent care is best for non-life-threatening emergencies.
"A minor cut, um which you know can be repaired in the office or a fracture or a minor illness," said Fierstein.
Urgent care facilities can take X-rays and can do some lab tests, but for more advanced care and testing like CT scans, experts say go to the hospital, especially if you have symptoms of a stroke or heart attack.
"As a general rule, if you're having severe chest pain or abdominal pain, you should go straight to a hospital," said Fierstein.
However, Dr. Peter Shearer, an emergency department medical director said there is some gray area.
"Maybe you've been having a fever and a cough, and maybe you have pneumonia," said Shearer. "Some of those cases could definitely be managed in an urgent care center. Some are better in a hospital based emergency department."
Experts say it's best to use an urgent care center that's affiliated with a hospital. That way, it can share records if you have to go to the hospital after all.
Experts say people with underlying conditions including diabetes and cancer, should always seek treatment at a hospital.