Urgent Care vs Emergency Room vs suck it up and stop whining
Last night’s shift has prompted me to share the following rant/public service message.
Emergency Room: This is where you go if you think you are going to die or lose a limb. These are true emergencies (hence the name). If you are having a heart attack, stroke, really bad asthma attack, chopped your own leg off at the thigh with your chainsaw. Do not attempt to drive yourself there. Call an ambulance.
Urgent Care: This is where you go for something that is urgent (hence the name) but not life threatening. A broken bone, a bad cut that won’t stop bleeding (less than chainsaw-level severity), mild food poisoning, a UTI that isn’t going to kill you but is a 3,968 on a pain scale of 1 to 10. You will get the same care here that you get in an ER, only at about 1/3 the cost and 1/3 the wait time, and you’re not hogging a stretcher that should be going to the guy in line behind you with his intestines hanging out of the gash on his belly. If the Urgent Care staff determine that you really belong in an ER, they will transfer you there.
If you think you are going to die, do not go to the Urgent Care. You are a little more urgent than that.
If you stubbed your toe, or have the sniffles, you do not need to go to the Urgent Care nor the Emergency Room. Book a regular doctor’s office appointment, if you must, and stop being a baby. If you have insurance, you are driving up everyone’s premiums by running up a 4K ER bill for your goddamn sniffles. Do not go ahead and run up as big a bill as you want, and shrug and say "insurance is paying for it". That is male bovine feces. We are all paying for it. This is why so many of us can’t afford health insurance- and of those of us who can, we are paying half our income for policies that exclude everything. If you do not have insurance, we the working taxpayers are footing your 4K ER visit for your goddamn sniffles. Please don’t. You are a self-centered, dead-weight wuss, and if you really do die from your hangnail, you deserve it.
Things to not trifle with: chest pain, unexplained numbness (especially down one side of the body), drooping of half the face, unfamiliar severe headache, serious burns (esp to the hands), slurring of words, unexplained mental confusion, unexplained severe weakness or dizziness, serious cuts or other trauma injuries to the hands, face or genitals. Trauma to the spine. Concussions. Drug or alcohol overdoses (yes, it is possible to overdose and DIE on alcohol). Diabetic emergencies. Go to the ER. Any pustule or other skin break where it looks like the tissue is being eaten away. Go to the Urgent Care. You are not being a baby.
(Note that this is not a complete and exhaustive list of what not to trifle with- just a few common examples. Use sense.)
The only thing that grates my cheese more than people who go to the ER for stupid s*** is people who sit at home and gush blood from both ends for days, then decide that it might be a good idea to mosey into the Urgent Care with a hemoglobin of 2.6 (TWO POINT SIX!!!! Kron Gracie Wept!) just in time to go tits-up amongst the potted plants in the lobby.