Ten Reasons to Visit an Emergency Room Instead of an Urgent Care : Safety
While urgent care centers are incredibly convenient, they lack some of the capabilities and equipment available at a hospital ER. Because urgent care centers are not hospitals, they can’t treat certain life-threatening conditions. Also, most urgent care facilities will not have 24-hour coverage as a hospital emergency room would. If you are in need of immediate medical attention due to a major accident or unexpected condition, you should go directly to an emergency room.
This is because a patient’s treatment is often dependent on their ability to be seen by doctors immediately upon arrival. The exception here being if your injury is severe but has stabilized; it might be safe to wait for an appointment with your primary doctor in lieu of going straight to the ER. A good rule of thumb: If you think you’re dying or something could get seriously messed up if help doesn’t arrive soon, head straight for an emergency room rather than stopping off at urgent care first.