Difference between emergency room and urgent care

Free-standing emergency departments are becoming more common across the country.

St. David’s Healthcare will open their fourth free-standing ER in several weeks.

We wanted to know the difference between one of these ER centers and an urgent care clinic.

Dr. Robert Simpkins, Medical Director of St. David’s Emergency Center in Cedar Park, joined Erin Cargile on KXAN News Today Saturday to explain.

In a free-standing emergency department, doctors can treat conditions like (Source: St. David’s HealthCare):
• Heart attacks;
• Strokes;
• Head and spine injuries;
• Respiratory distress;
• Abdominal pain;
• Dehydration;
• Orthopedic injuries;
• Sports injuries; and
• Lacerations that require sutures.

Urgent care centers treat patients with non-emergency conditions after-hours and on the weekends.

Urgent care centers provide the following services (Source: St. David’s HealthCare):
• General radiology;
• General laboratory;
• Immunizations;
• Physicals;
• Colds, flu and pneumonia;
• Lacerations, broken bones and sports injuries;
• Back pain;
• Ear, nose and throat;
• Fever;
• Abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea;
• Urinary tract conditions;
• Asthma and emphysema; and
• Headaches and migraines.

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