What is the right destination when illness or injury requires immediate care — the emergency department or urgent care?
"Knowing where to go can be crucial; it can ensure a definitive diagnosis, save you time and help prevent complications," says Diane Gorgas, MD, associate professor of Emergency Medicine at The Ohio State University Medical Center.
Visit an emergency department for the most serious care concerns. When your condition is not life-threatening but needs immediate attention, an urgent care clinic can offer high-quality care and save you time, she notes.
Ohio State offers both options. We have two emergency departments (EDs) — one at University Hospital and the other at University Hospital East. In-house specialists are available to emergency staff in all of the disciplines required for comprehensive emergency care. Also, the ED at University Hospital provides Level I trauma care around the clock. This ED is one of only two such adult centers in the city with the Level 1 distinction and means our professionals are skilled to provide treatment to the most critically injured trauma patients.
Ohio State also has two new FastCare clinics — one at the Market District Giant Eagle at Kingsdale in Upper Arlington and the other at the Giant Eagle in Gahanna. Here, certified Ohio State nurse practitioners will see anyone over age 18 without an appointment who has a pressing primary care need. FastCare offers quick assessments and treatment, and on-site services such as basic lab tests, with convenient day, evening and weekend hours.
Go to the ED for these health problems:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Bleeding that is not easily controlled with pressure
- Any injury to the head, neck, chest, back or abdomen
- Loss of consciousness
- Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision
- Sudden weakness of an arm or leg or difficulty speaking
- Abdominal pain
Visit FastCare for these care needs:
- Minor burns or rashes
- Coughs, colds and sore throats
- Ear infections
- Fever or flu-like symptoms
- Skin and soft tissue infections
- Mild asthma
- Animal and insect bites
FastCare clinics are open weekdays 8:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m.–6:30 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Spotlight on Your Experience in the Emergency Department
Visiting the ED is a stressful time. Here are some things to know before you arrive.
First, remember that the emergency department is a busy place. We do our best to see patients as quickly as we safely can. Ever wonder why someone who arrived after you is getting treated before you? Order is continually adjusted based on the arrival of patients with severe or life-threatening injuries.
You may be directed to immediate care for lifethreatening symptoms, a Fast Track area for quick assessment and treatment of minor illness or injuries or our state-of-the-art Clinical Decision Unit for extra attention during recovery, according to Lisa Koser, CNP, emergency nurse manager. Once our emergency team sees you, you should expect it will take about two hours to receive results from nearly all the tests we conduct.