Duke Medicine HealthLine
Published: Feb. 20, 2008
Updated: July 27, 2010
Where should each of these scenarios send you: the ER, urgent care, or your doctor’s office?
Answers: For situations like 1, 3, and 6 -- severe cuts and burns, broken bones, seizures, and anything that might be a heart attack -- the emergency room is the place to go; in case of a true emergency, you should always call 911. For everything else, start with your primary care physician or the physician on call for your doctor group, who will advise you where to go.
Wait -- where’s urgent care in the mix? They can step in any time for non-emergency situations, but they are meant to be the place you go only when your primary care physician is unavailable.