When You Need Emergency or Urgent Medical Care

Americans young and old will sometimes become injured or need medicine for an illness, and it is important that a nearby adult can be responsible and take the victim to the correct doctors or clinics for medical care. Today, emergency care and walk in clinics (or urgent clinics) can provide the best medical care, but they are not interchangeable. Emergency and urgent care are distinct, and anyone looking for them should know what they really need. If a nearby victim’s life is in danger, an online search on a PC or mobile device may help, such as “emergency room near me Los Angeles CA” or “emergency room near me Miami FL” to find something local. When searching “emergency room near me”, the seeker may also opt to use their ZIP code to narrow down the search. A query with “emergency room near me” may show some nearby hospitals or clinics with the right doctors for emergency care. Meanwhile, urgent care will call for a different sort of clinic, such as walk in clinics or even retail clinics. How might this work?

Finding Emergency Care

Emergency care, in particular, deals with life-threatening injuries or illnesses on the patient’s part. It is vital that this victim is rushed to emergency care by someone nearby or even an ambulance, so that they can get stabilized and treated by doctors and physicians. Why might someone need this level of care? Serious trauma such as broken arms or legs will call for finding nearby emergency care, for example, or trauma to the head or the eyes. A patient may need emergency care for bullet or stab wounds, or for heavy bleeding, organ damage, or difficulty breathing or chest pain. A patient may have a broken rib that is puncturing a lung, for example. Doctors and physicians at emergency care have the training and medicine to treat such maladies, but it may be noted that not all patients at emergency care actually need it. Many victims who are taken to emergency care can and probably should visit urgent care instead, since their health affliction isn’t serious enough to warrant emergency care. Around 44-65% of ER episodes today could have been handled with urgent care instead.

Going to Urgent Care

If emergency care is for life-threatening and serious illness and injury, then urgent care is for everything else. Minor, non life-threatening wounds and illness call for urgent care, and fortunately, many thousands of urgent care centers and walk in clinics can be found across the United States today. Most of them are small and independent, but some of them are linked into small local networks with one another. Most towns and cities have at least a few, and construction contractors are always building new ones in rural communities that don’t yet have their own urgent care clinic.

Many of these clinics are built into strip malls, but there are also hospital clinic and retail clinic models. Hospital clinics are built into a hospital, but it may be noted that these clinics’ medical services and staff are distinct from those of the hospital at large. A patient may visit for that clinic and ignore the hospital at large, which can be quite convenient. Meanwhile, retail clinics are those built into large retailers such as Target, Walmart, or Walgreens, and they often have pharmacies built into them. A shopper may appreciate the chance to visit these retailers for their shopping in addition to picking up prescription drug refills at the pharmacy.

Retail clinics are staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who can treat a wide variety of ailments, and a clinic that’s running smoothly may see around three patients per hour. Close to 80% of these clinics may treat bone fractures, and most of them can also treat ankle or wrist sprains. Staff there may provide stitches and bandages for shallow cuts, and they can also take care of upper respiratory issues in patients. Guests may get medicinal relief for the common cold or flu, and they may also get lotion or ointment for skin rashes, such as from sunburn or poison ivy. These clinics nearly always have a pharmacy on hand, with trained pharmacists who can refill prescription drugs for the guests.

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