When you’re sick or injured, you want prompt and effective medical care. Depending on the severity of your ailment, you have a couple of options – rush to the emergency room (ER) or visit your primary care physician (PCP).
Does it matter who you see? After all, ER doctors and PCPs are both trained in general medicine, right?
Actually, there are significant differences between being seen at an ER and going to a primary care practice when it comes to the level of care that is provided. Each offers certain benefits, but choosing the right care for your situation is important.
Let’s talk about those differences, and where you can go in North Bethesda for outstanding primary care to help keep you healthy.
How to Know When to Go to an Emergency Room
The basic rule of thumb is that you should only visit an ER if you have a life-threatening emergency or a severe injury. For example, you wouldn’t go to an emergency room for a mildly sprained ankle, where you can walk on the foot but it’s just very painful. However, if the sprained ankle is severe, you would not be able to walk on that foot – and this does warrant going to the ER.
Examples of serious medical situations where you would go to the emergency room include:
- Heart attack/chest pain
- Traumatic injury (broken bone, head injury, car accident, etc.)
- Severe abdominal pain
- Unconsciousness or fainting
- Trouble breathing
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Severe allergic reaction
If you go to an emergency room and your condition is not life-threatening or otherwise very severe, you will likely have to wait behind other patients whose health situations are more critical than yours.
When Should I See My PCP Rather than Go to the ER?
Your PCP is qualified and equipped to not only diagnose and treat common health conditions – such as cold and flu symptoms, rashes, minor cuts and lacerations, minor sprains and strains, burns, and migraines – in a timely manner but also treat chronic conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes.
One of the major benefits of visiting your PCP when you are hurting or under the weather is that he/she is well aware of your medical history and any allergies you may have to medications, whereas an ER doctor is starting from scratch. Your PCP already knows you from your annual check-up.
An ER will treat you, bill you, and send you on your way, whereas your PCP will continue to keep tabs on your health. Your PCP collects all of your health records and information from the various specialists you may see, and the doctor keeps a big-picture view of your health.
Concierge Primary Care Physician in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) Area
When it comes to receiving high-quality primary healthcare, you won’t find a more dedicated and caring provider than Dr. Adam Possner at North Bethesda Primary Care. Dr. Possner is a board-certified internal medicine physician who takes the time to provide exceptional, personalized concierge medical care and to build a solid, long-term relationship with his patients.
To learn how our membership-based practice can help you live your best and healthiest life, request a complimentary meeting with Dr. Possner. You can also arrange a visit by calling our office and speaking with our friendly and accommodating staff at (301) 941-4414. We look forward to being your healthcare partner!