Reasons to Choose the ER Over Urgent Care

Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are significant differences between emergency care and urgent care. Urgent care clinics, which are typically freestanding, do provide important healthcare services within communities such as West Hills. However, they aren’t equipped to save lives like ERs are. If you have a serious or life-threatening medical emergency, the ER at West Hills Hospital can provide rapid intervention.

Understanding the Differences Between Urgent and Emergency Care

Urgent care centers primarily treat patients with medical conditions that cannot wait for an appointment with a primary care physician. For example, patients may go to an urgent care clinic for minor lacerations and mild respiratory infections. However, emergency care is required for serious conditions such as anaphylaxis, stroke, heart attack, and major fractures. Another main difference between these two facilities is that emergency rooms are staffed by specially trained emergency medicine physicians, nurses, and other providers. This means that going to an ER for a medical emergency instead of an urgent care center ensures that patients will receive the care they need. Furthermore, ERs have greater capabilities and are better equipped than urgent care clinics. While some urgent care clinics have on-site X-rays and basic lab services, ERs have all the resources of the hospital at their disposal.

Identifying Common Medical Emergencies

If you aren’t sure whether you’re experiencing a true medical emergency, it’s wise to err on the side of caution and call your doctor for guidance, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room. The symptoms of medical emergencies often develop suddenly . With a severe allergic reaction or asthma attack, a patient may have trouble breathing. A stroke causes sudden neurological impairments, such as abrupt numbness and weakness on one side of the body, sudden vision loss, and sudden confusion. Other symptoms of common medical emergencies include loss of consciousness, persistent or severe bleeding, and seizures.

Exceptional emergency care is just one of the many healthcare services you’ll find at West Hills Hospital. Our community hospital is pleased to serve our neighbors in the West Hills area with comprehensive cancer care, maternity care, and spine health services—just to name a few. If you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 right away. For non-emergent information, you can speak with a registered nurse by calling (818) 676-4321.

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