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When to go to the ER or to Urgent Care

Sparrow Hospital’s ER is at capacity
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 7:43 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It’s that time of year where coughing and sneezing are becoming more common as allergies, colds and the flu start to spread.

Throw in COVID-19 and more people are heading to the emergency room, overwhelming hospital staff. That means you could be waiting a long time before you’re treated.

Dr. Paul Entler, the vice president of quality and performance improvement at Sparrow, said many times people going to the ER don’t always need to be there.

“They take away a bed or capacity for those needing emergent intervention. Could potentially delay the care somebody needs that could potentially be life-saving,” said Dr. Entler.

People can help ease the load by going elsewhere. Wait times are generally shorter if you go somewhere like an urgent care.

“If there’s anything they can do for me first, they’ll be able to do that a lot quicker than the ER is,” said Liz Kruger.

Liz Kruger prefers going to urgent care if she needs to see a doctor right away. In fact, she was just there last week.

“I stepped on a wasp nest, a ground wasp nest, in my yard. I got about eight wasp stings. I found out I’m mildly allergic,” said Kruger. “I was in and out in maybe less than an hour.”

Saving people a trip to the ER is generally the idea behind urgent care offices.

“Our hope is to be able to unload some of their volumes so they can take care of the true emergencies,” said Jill Gomoll, Lansing Urgent Care physician assistant.

Gomoll said IF people start at urgent care, they will get whatever care they need.

“That’s what our training is to be able to be able to identify true emergencies and what needs to go to the emergency department,” said

If someone isn’t sure if they should go to an urgent care office or the ER, they should contact their primary care doctor.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

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