Charlotte Edition

Urgent Care Center Provides Alternative to Emergency Department

Millennium’s Walk-in Medical Center Provides Fast, Affordable Care

Is my life at risk? This is the No. 1 question you should ask if you are trying to decide whether to visit an urgent care center or an emergency department.

“If you feel as if your health problem is life-threatening, you need to go to an emergency room immediately. If it’s not life threatening, an urgent care center would be best,” says James Faremouth, D.O., physician at the Millennium Physician Group Walk-in Medical Center in Port Charlotte.

Urgent care centers provide treatment for health concerns that require immediate medical attention but are not life-threatening. It is all about determining the degree of the injury, says Dr. Faremouth, who is board-certified in family medicine with more than 10 years experience in urgent care medicine.

For example, if someone hits his or her head and has a bad headache, then an urgent care center would be a good option for treatment. However, if the person loses consciousness or has double vision or slurred speech, then he or she needs to seek care at an emergency room because those could be signs of a serious brain injury, he says.

Examples of health concerns that are not life-threatening include cold- or flu-like symptoms, such as nausea, fever, vomiting or a sore throat; urinary tract infections; respiratory infections; and dehydration. Urgent care centers can also provide treatment for external injuries, such as minor cuts and burns, sprains and strained muscles. Patients would not want to wait a couple days to seek care for these illnesses and injuries, Dr. Faremouth says.

“I see 25 to 30 people each day, from infants to grandmas and grandpas. Ten people may come in with symptoms indicating a cold or flu, five may need stitches or sutures, another five may have a rash or sore shoulder,” he says. “It goes from one end of the spectrum to the other.”

The urgent care staff will call an ambulance if necessary. It all boils down to the safety of the patient, he says. “Patients will receive the same high quality care at our urgent care center as they would in a hospital, but if I can’t treat ‘em and street ‘em—

meaning provide treatment and send them safely home—then I will send my patients to the emergency room,” he says.

With extended and weekend hours, urgent care centers are also a good choice if patients cannot immediately get in to see their regular physician, he says. “If you wake up vomiting on Saturday morning, chances are your doctor’s office will not be open. We are not trying to take the place of your physician, but we can provide you with immediate care until you can follow up with your primary care doctor,” he says.

Millennium Physician Group Walk-in Medical Center is currently open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Urgent care centers can also save you time and money, he says. “At our urgent care center appointments are not necessary,” he says.

Depending on the degree of injury, patients are typically out the door in less than an hour unless they require additional testing or treatment. This is in contrast to an emergency room where patients with minor illnesses and injuries could be waiting for two or three hours because patients with more serious illnesses or injuries, such as automobile accident victims or someone with severe chest pain, must been seen first, he says.

Urgent care centers are intended to be fast and affordable for patients, but safety should always be a patient’s overriding concern, Dr. Faremouth says. If you are really not sure how serious of a health issue you are having, play it safe. “If even the slightest inkling of doubt zips through your brain that your injury could be life-threatening, go to the emergency department,” he says.

For more information about the Millennium Physician Group Walk-in Medical Center, visit www.MillenniumPhysician.org.

 

James Faremouth, D.O.
Walk-in Medical Center
2450 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL 33952
941-624-2704

Hours of operation:
Open seven days a week
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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