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Is Your Workplace Injury a True Emergency?

When an accident happens at work, you know medical care is needed fast. But what if you’re not sure if it’s a true emergency?  While the answer is not always simple, knowing the difference between urgent care and emergency care and where to seek treatment could save a life in an emergency.

For conditions that aren’t life-threatening, you may be able to save time—and money—by going to your local urgent care facility.  These freestanding walk-in centers usually offer extended hours, and their doctors can treat non-life-threatening medical situations, perform basic X-rays and lab work, and dispense prescriptions.  These include minor traumas such as cuts, sprains, eye injuries, insect bites, and simple fractures.  Patients are usually seen on a walk-in basis, and many centers have extended hours.

Emergency rooms are not always the fastest choice for medical care needs—and certainly not the most cost-effective.  The emergency department was designed to provide life-or-limb-saving care.  Many people, however, use the ER as a place to receive urgent care without realizing it.  If you’re ever in doubt, it’s better to be safe and go to the closest ER.  These are just a few of the conditions that are medical emergencies:

  • Broken bones or dislocated joints
  • Deep cuts that require stitches – especially on the face
  • Bleeding that won’t stop or a large open wound
  • Serious burns

Sometimes driving an injured worker to the emergency room won’t get you the medical care needed fast enough.  For certain very serious injuries, such as:

  • Fall from severe heights
  • Crushing injury to the torso which may include organ damage
  • Amputation of limb(s)
  • Serious head trauma or unconsciousness
  • Heart attack or stroke

In these critical situations, call 9-1-1!  Taking an ambulance is safer because paramedics can deliver life-saving care on the way to the hospital.

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