When a medical emergency strikes, you need the highest quality of care fast. In a moment of crisis, it may be hard to decide when to go to the ER versus an urgent care center. Understanding the difference between the two and what services they provide can make all the difference during a medical emergency.

Urgent care locations or walk-in clinics typically treat the average flu or sprain, making them ideal for medical treatment when your primary care doctor’s office is closed. While urgent care centers are great for quickly diagnosing and treating a variety of medical conditions, they are not equipped to handle more serious maladies or injuries.

When to go to the Emergency Room

If you are experiencing any of these conditions, please call 911 immediately.

  • Life-threatening conditions
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Open fractures
  • Severe bleeding
  • Signs of heart attack/chest pain
  • Head injury or other major trauma
  • One-sided weakness or numbness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Uncontrolled pain or bleeding
Visit an HCA West Florida ER or check our ER wait times

When to contact your primary care physician

You should contact your primary care physician for annual physicals, insurance referrals, medication refills or other routine health matters. We recommend that you always follow up with your primary care provider on all services you receive through an ER, urgent care center or walk-in clinic.

Schedule an appointment with a doctor