Broken Bones, Sprains, or Back Strain: Do I go to the ER or Urgent Care?

April 29, 2021

When injuries occur, it is important to seek immediate medical care. During this stressful time, it can be difficult to assess the severity of the injury and you may find yourself wondering—should I go to the ER or to an urgent care facility?

The short answer: Texas MedClinic Urgent Care treats orthopedic injuries like broken bones, ankle sprains and back strain, saving you time from visiting a busy hospital emergency room, as well as money.

According to Texas MedClinic’s Chief Operating Officer and practicing physician Dr. David Gude, “Patients often mistakenly assume, in the event of a fracture, an orthopedic surgeon will treat their injury if they visit a hospital ER. However, in most cases, the injury is splinted by ER staff, just as it would be at an urgent care facility, and the patient is advised to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon at their office.”

If a patient sustains a fracture that threatens the integrity of blood flow or causes nerve damage, then surgery occurs immediately, and the orthopedic surgeon is called to the hospital ER.

The Difference Between Urgent Care, the ER, and Free-Standing ER’s

Urgent care is an excellent choice when your primary physician is unavailable to treat routine illnesses such as colds, sore throats, allergies, fever, and flu. Urgent care also is readily available and convenient for treating minor medical emergencies such as sprains, strains, burns, contusions, cuts requiring stitches, and minor fractures.

Additional advantages of visiting an urgent care include a shorter wait time when compared to an emergency room and lower insurance co-pays.

The hospital emergency room is the place to go for severe, life-threatening emergencies like heart attacks, seizures, strokes, falls, or traumatic injuries caused by car or motorcycle accidents, serious falls, or drownings.

Hospital emergency rooms are available any time of the day or night and are prepared to treat the most critical and complex medical needs.

Free-standing ER’s have been popping up in cities across the country, and many in need of medical treatment turn to them under the assumption they are as capable of treating medical emergencies as a hospital ER. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.

Free-standing ER’s are independent from any full-service hospital or medical facility, yet their fees are just as high as those found at a hospital ER. Often, such facilities suffer from a lack of proximity to care services for conditions such as heart attack, stroke, or trauma requiring surgery.

In actuality, free standing ER’s are more comparable to an urgent care facility, yet their prices are 10 – 15 times higher.

Orthopedic Care Available at Texas MedClinic

An experienced and well-trained team of providers offer a variety of services including diagnostic computerized x-rays, splinting and suturing, and pain relief. Once initial treatment has taken place, a referral is provided to a specialized orthopedist.

With two 24-hour urgent care San Antonio locations and one 24-hour urgent care location in Selma, those in need of medical care for an orthopedic injury in off-hours have access to care when they need it, much like a hospital emergency room.

Watch this video by Texas MedClinic’s Chief Operations Officer, Dr. David Gude, to learn more about what to do in the event of an orthopedic injury.

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