Emergency, Trauma or Urgent Care?
Most hospitals have an Emergency Department; this is where patients come with emergency illnesses and injuries, some of which may be life-threatening. Examples might include sudden severe stomach pains, shortness of breath, or severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea. Emergency Departments are not set up for non-emergency patients to receive necessary follow-up care. When the ER is crowded, the sickest must be treated first. If you or your loved one is not among the "sickest," please know that we are monitoring everyone's condition, and will get to you as soon as possible.
A Trauma Center can handle all of the same types of illnesses and injuries that are seen in an Emergency Department, plus provide multi-disciplinary, comprehensive emergency medical services to patients who have traumatic injuries. Examples of traumatic injuries include those sustained in automobile accidents, gunshot wounds, or a train collision. To give these patients the best hopes for survival, these types of injuries frequently require a highly specialized medical team that includes trauma surgeons, other medical specialties, highly trained staff, and the latest in sophisticated medical equipment.
The American College of Surgeons (ACS) sets national criteria for hospitals to qualify as a trauma center. Trauma centers are identified by "levels", which correspond to the types of trauma services they provide. Level I is the highest.
If you have a medical condition or illnesses that you're concerned about, but it is not a life threatening condition, an Urgent Care Center is the right place for you to go. Patients at Urgent Care Centers are typically seen faster, as each patient does not take as much time as most do in a Trauma Center or Emergency department. The cost is less expensive than an Emergency Department as well. If the medical professionals at the Urgent Care think that you need an Emergency Department, they will help get you there in a timely manner. Check with your family physician or health plan to find one in your area.