In today's market, there seem to be more and more options every week for your child's medical care. For the sake of simplicity, we'll be referring to three forms of health care: your primary care provider (your family doctor or pediatrician), urgent care facilities (from here on out simply referred to as Urgent Cares), and hospital emergency departments (ERs).
Urgent Cares should only be used for after hours illnesses that cannot wait until our offices open the next morning, or illnesses over the weekend. We offer all day walk-in care for acute illnesses for our patients, which further reduces the reason to go elsewhere. We would not recommend using urgent cares for physicals or routine illness visits while our offices are open; neither should they be used for severe emergencies. As your primary care provider, not only do we specialize in pediatric medicine, but we also have access to your child's complete medical record and history. Most urgent care providers do not have the same level of pediatric experience.
Emergency Rooms should be only be used for, as their name suggests, emergencies. Routine sick visits take the time and resources of an ER that should be used for a more deserving case and slow down the system, preventing it from fulfilling its purpose. Broken bones, any cuts or wounds requiring stitches, severe allergic reactions, and inability to breathe are all reasons to go to an ER. Cold symptoms, a rash, a cough for several days: these are not reasonable symptoms to justify an ER visit. If you are unsure whether or not your child's fever is high enough to go to the ER or to our office, call and we will advise you.
If you are not sure what to do during office hours, call either office and we will advise you.
If you are not sure what to do after hours, contact the on-call provider, and he/she will advise you.