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Health Education Blog

Should You Go to the Health Care Clinic or the Emergency Room?

Posted by Staff on March 13, 2017

emergency room signKnowing when to visit a clinic versus when to visit an emergency room is a dilemma nearly everyone has faced at least once in their life. Whether it’s the middle of the night and you feel utterly miserable with illness, or the middle of the day and you aren’t sure you can take another moment in your current condition, we’ve all been there.

The question weighs heavy: go to the emergency room for something that could be nothing, or go to the clinic for nothing that could be something. The good news is there are some guidelines to follow when tackling this decision. We’ve got some pointers to help you determine whether you will benefit most from visiting a clinic or an emergency department.

When should you visit a health care clinic?

A clinic is best used in situations where you need medical attention, but you’re not in imminent danger. In other words, if you are not in danger of dying, the clinic is your best option. Sore throats, infections, broken bones, all these things are urgent, and can be treated at a clinic.

In fact, clinics are faster, and can still offer outstanding care catered to your needs. They are also cheaper than an emergency room. You can have lab work done, be seen by a doctor, receive medicine and/or prescriptions for your illness or injury, along with a plethora of other services.

Orchard Hospital’s Medical Specialty Centers – Your Everyday Health Care Clinics in both Gridley and Oroville are equipped to handle everything from minor surgical procedures to cardiology to OB/GYN care. 

When is it time to go to the emergency room?

If you feel your life is in danger, and it’s an emergency. If you’ve had serious head trauma, you’re having chest pain, difficulty breathing, profuse bleeding from an open wound, a large, swollen, and hard abdomen…these things are an emergency.

***If you're unsure dial 9-1-1 immediately***

Age and health status are also factors when deciding to go to an emergency room or a clinic.

If a healthy 25 year old with no prior medical history has a migraine and is confused, the clinic would be a good choice.

If an 80 year old presents with a migraine and confusion, the emergency room should be their next stop.

What’s the difference? Well, simply put, the 80-year-old is at risk for a stroke – which IS life threatening. The 25-year-old with no prior medical history is most likely not having a stroke (statistically speaking).

In the end, you should assess yourself (or your loved one) to determine if the situation can end in death if it’s not treated in the next few hours.

Trying to decide whether you or someone you know is facing life or death is not a pleasant thought, nor is it an easy burden. We encourage you to call us at any time and inquire about what course of action would be most beneficial to you.

To reach our Gridley Medical Specialty Center, dial (530) 846-9080. To reach our Oroville Medical Specialty Center, dial (530) 353-3332. To reach the directory of our hospital, dial (530) 846-9000.

If you’d like more information on our Medical Specialty Centers including examples of when you’d want to use them, check out this blog. It has tons of great information you may want to know regardless of which option you choose!

Our mission at Orchard Hospital is to provide our community with superior health care. We strive to ensure that your experience at Orchard Hospital is as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Our priority is to provide you with the care you need when you need it, with skill, compassion, and respect.    

Topics: Services

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This blog is the place to find general healthcare information, news and updates, as well as ways Orchard Hospital can help!


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