Our health rarely keeps office hours and sometimes you need care in a hurry. But how do you know if it’s time to go to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic? Today we’re sitting down with some experts in these areas who can help us understand the difference and what we can expect when seeking urgent or emergency care.
In this Episode
- CJ Anderson
- Erik Egsieker, MD
What’s it like to work in the Emergency Department?
Working in the Emergency Department can be an intense and varied experience. Dr. Egsieker says this can be challenging at times, but is also very rewarding.
What’s the difference between Urgent Care and Emergency Care?
Adventist Medical Center’s Emergency Department is a hospital department. This means patients have access to all the hospital services, including advanced imaging and laboratory testing, medical and surgical specialists as well as life support equipment. If you feel like you, or someone you love, is facing a life-threatening condition the Emergency Department is the right place to go.
When is the Emergency Department the busiest?
Dr. Egsieker says Sundays and Mondays are generally the busiest days in the Emergency Department. He says waiting for medical care is something to be cautious about. Sometimes waiting to see if symptoms improve, trying to “tough it out” or waiting for an appointment with your regular doctor might not be the safest choice. He says if you’re thinking going to the Emergency Department it’s likely time to go and get checked out.
When in doubt, get it checked out
When patients come to the Emergency Department the care team does a lot of testing and evaluation in order to diagnose what’s going on. Dr. Egsieker says his team would much rather do this work and find out there’s nothing seriously wrong than have a patient second-guess their gut instinct and not come to the ED with a serious concern. Even with all the advanced training and resources in the ED, it takes time and testing to figure out what’s going on. You shouldn’t expect to just know for yourself.
When should you call 911
Dr. Egsieger says, much like coming to the Emergency Department, it’s time to call 911 if you don’t feel you can get to the hospital safely on your own.
- Chest Pain (and shortness of breath)
- Sudden and unexplained weakness or loss of balance
- Trouble speaking
- Severe pain (too much pain to drive)
Calling 911 has additional benefits. The emergency response team can begin treating you on the way to the hospital. They also begin communicating with the Emergency Department, so they can prepare for you.
- Adventist Medical Center’s Emergency Department
- Adventist Health Urgent Care
- Signs of a Heart Attack
Author: LivingWell PDX Blog
Adventist Health is committed to creating a healthier Portland community.