In Case of a Medical Emergency

Emergency Department
Kevin Scruggs, MD

You sprained an ankle. Or suffered a cut that needs stitches. Or have a nasty rash. In the past, these conditions might have sent you to the Emergency department (ED). Today, there is another option—urgent care. “Emergency departments play a critical role in our healthcare system, but going to the ED may not be the best choice if you have an injury or illness that is not life-threatening. Urgent care centers provide quick and convenient access to health care for minor illnesses and injuries, right when it’s needed,” says Kevin Scruggs, MD, chairman, Emergency Medicine, at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital.

MedStar Health offers urgent care through MedStar PromptCare, a network of centers located in the central Maryland and Washington, D.C., metro regions. The network provides walk-in, extended-hour access to medical care for most illnesses and injuries, as well as physicals for sports, camp and pre-employment, concussion evaluations, flu shots, laboratory and X-ray services.

“No one ever plans on having a sudden illness or injury. Often, these happen after-hours when your doctor is not available. Choosing the right facility for the right care can be critical to one’s health. That is why when a medical emergency happens, it is important for you to know which type of facility will provide you with the best medical care,” Dr. Scruggs notes.

“Remember that the missions of EDs and urgent care centers differ. Emergency care is meant for serious medical conditions where delaying care could cause permanent harm or even death. So the ED focuses on seeing the most critical cases first. Urgent care is for more minor problems. If you go to the ED for a minor condition, you may have to wait some time to be seen. Offering both provides greater access to care for everyone, where and when it’s needed,” adds Dr. Scruggs.

For illness and injuries that are not life-threatening but still need immediate attention, MedStar PromptCare sees individuals of all ages. When in doubt, call 911. 

This article appeared in the summer 2017 issue of Good HealthRead more articles from this issue.

Location Information

5601 Loch Raven Boulevard
O'Neill Building, 1st Floor
Baltimore, MD 21239

Emergency Department

Broken bones High fever
Chest pain Loss of unconsciousness
Difficulty breathing Severe burns
Extreme pain Uncontrolled bleeding

Urgent Care

Bug and minor animal bites Minor burns
Cold and flu symptoms Minor head injuries
Concussions Pink eye
Ear infections Rashes
Mild fevers Sprains and minor injuries
Minor allergic reactions Urinary tract infections
Minor broken bones