Urgent Services

Urgent Services Specialist
The need for urgent care arises from time to time. It’s a medical health need that doesn’t require emergency room speed but should be assessed within a day or two. While Dr. Michelle Hamidi and the team at Associates in Family Medicine in Clairemont, San Diego, California isn’t an urgent care facility, they set aside time for their patients with urgent service needs. Call or click as soon as possible to make an appointment.

Urgent Services

by Michelle Hamidi, MD

Associates in Family Medicine is not an Urgent Care Facility; however, we do reserve a few time-slots each day for patients who need urgent services. These would be people who have symptoms such as earaches, coughs, aches & pains, etcetera.

In general, urgent care means you have health issues which need to be addressed somewhat quickly (within 24 hours) but not immediately. If it is during normal business hours, call our office to make a same-day appointment. If it is after hours, use your judgment to determine if you wish to wait until our office is open, or if you wish to see an urgent care center with extended business hours, or if you wish to go to the emergency room.

Why Choose Urgent Care?

Speed: We recommend that you consider urgent care before going to the emergency room. Urgent care is often quicker compared to that of a busy emergency room where you may be placed at a lower priority compared to someone with a life-or-death situation. Emergency care will almost always service life-threatening situations before they handle non-emergency issues.

Cost: Urgent care usually cost less compared to emergency care. As you might expect, emergency rooms are armed with state of the art machines and specialists whose purpose is to save lives. These services and facilities cost money, thus a trip to the emergency room may hurt your wallet more than if you went to an urgent care facility.

Courtesy: Emergency care is designed for emergency situations such as heart attacks, severe car accidents, or excessive blood loss due to open wounds. Entering an emergency room for minor health issues results in a full waiting room where everyone must wait a little longer before they are attended to.

Examples: When you or a member of your family is sick, it can be difficult to decide whether a condition is “urgent” or “emergency”. Some examples of non-emergency conditions are:

  • coughs, colds, sore throats
  • earaches
  • minor burns
  • pulled muscle, general aches & pains
  • fever or flu-like symptoms
  • rash or other skin irritations
  • sprains and strains
  • urinary tract infections

When is Emergency Care Needed?

Emergency care is needed when you think a person or unborn baby could die or be permanently disabled if medical help is not provided immediately.

Some situations are clear-cut: loss of limb or body parts, gunshot or knife wounds, unconsciousness, extremely high fever, or excessive vomiting. However, there are many situations where it is unclear whether emergency care is required or not. In these cases, you can call someone to get a second opinion.

Ask Someone: Calling your doctor or a nurse practitioner for advice would be best. Otherwise even talking to a family member, a neighbor, or friend can help put some perspective on the situation.
    – Can this wait till the morning?
    – Is this as bad as I think it is?

Keep in mind that if you go to the emergency room and your condition is not critical, you will be cared for after they have served those who are in critical condition. Such a trip may result in a 4 or 5-hour wait in the emergency room, a substantial hospital bill, and treatment that is the same as what you would have received from an urgent care facility.

Safety First: On the other hand, if you feel that you need emergency care, then you should proceed to the nearest hospital and seek medical attention. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes peace of mind is worth paying for.

Examples: Some examples of situations where you would want to call 911 or proceed to emergency care:

  • Trouble breathing, passing out, fainting
  • Unusual or a bad headache, especially if it started suddenly
  • Suddenly not able to speak, see, walk, or move
  • Suddenly weak or drooping on one side of the body
  • Dizziness or weakness that does not go away
  • Inhaled smoke or poisonous fumes
  • Deep wound, heavy bleeding, serious burn
  • Broken bone, especially if the bone is pushing through the skin
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Vomiting or diarrhea that does not stop
  • Severe allergic reaction with trouble breathing, swelling, hives
  • High fever with a headache and stiff neck
  • High fever that does not get better with medicine
  • Poisoning or overdose of drug or alcohol
  • Suicidal thoughts
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