Where to go for care: Should you visit the doctor, urgent care or an ER?

When you or a loved one is experiencing a medical emergency, it can be hard to tell if you need to go to the physician, urgent care or an emergency room. This can be especially tricky with potential heart conditions. Most people don’t realize that urgent care clinics will turn away patients who are exhibiting symptoms of a potential heart attack, heart disease or other cardiology-related conditions. If you or a loved one is experiencing chest pain or unusual heart symptoms, you should immediately go to the nearest emergency room, not an urgent care clinic.

For medical emergencies ALWAYS call 9-1-1.

Know where to go for care

What should wait for a physician office appointment?

Earaches, sore throats, fevers that respond to fever-reducing medication, coughs, colds, UTIs, sinus infections, pink eye and minor cuts and burns are all examples of things that can wait for an appointment with your physician.

What do urgent care clinics treat?

Urgent care clinics are excellent resources for treating every-day maladies and injuries when your primary care physician is unavailable. Flu symptoms, sprains and sinus infections are common conditions that an urgent care center can effectively treat. Anything that might be considered life-threatening should be treated at the closest emergency room.

What does an emergency room treat?

Most people immediately associate chest pain with a heart attack, but there are many other reasons why you may be experiencing chest pain. However, even though it might not be a heart attack, you should still seek immediate attention from an experienced, board-certified physician in an emergency room. Urgent care clinics are not equipped to handle most causes of chest pain. Additionally, uncontrolled bleeding, sudden or severe pain, coughing or vomiting blood, broken bone, loss of consciousness, or any concern where you feel a delay in care may have a significant impact on your health requires a trip to the closest ER.

Because heart conditions are so serious, it is always recommended that you seek medical attention from the nearest emergency room rather than an urgent care clinic if you experiencing any of the following symptoms.

  • Tightness in chest
  • Sudden sharp chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Chronic chest pain

Rose Medical Center offers exceptional cardiac care for emergency room patients, the type of care you won’t be able to find at an urgent care clinic. Our team of cardiologists, emergency medical doctors and other medical staff is ready 24/7 for any kind of medical emergency, especially heart attack-related symptoms. Our cardiac cath lab is available to patients as soon as they enter our doors. We are proud that our cardiac alert program has allowed us to beat the national average of 90 minutes to open clogged coronary vessels.

For more frequently asked questions about the Rose emergency room, visit this page: ER FAQs.