St. Lawrence Health System outlines when to visit ER versus Urgent Care
Canton-Potsdam Hospital’s Emergency Medicine provider Adam Quinn, MD, reviews the chart of an Emergency Department patient
POTSDAM -- There are times when we don’t feel well or receive an injury after our provider’s office is closed. Quite often the first thought is to visit the emergency department, but in some cases a trip to Urgent Care may be quicker and can provide you with the care required."The Emergency Department is open 24/7 for any and all adult and pediatric medical emergencies,” said Canton-Potsdam Hospital Emergency Department Chair Julie Vieth, MBChB, FAAEM, FACEP. “There are certain conditions that can be handled very well at an urgent care clinic if your primary care provider is not available. The level of care and ancillary support services that are provided and available at an urgent care facility versus an emergency department are different. In general, urgent care should be used for non-emergent conditions or those that require a same-day evaluation, but are not potentially life-threatening.”
“The Emergency Department should be your go-to for any conditions that are time sensitive or when there is a life-threatening emergency. Emergency departments are equipped to deal with any emergency, day or night, holiday or not, for both our youngest and oldest patients,” Dr. Vieth added.
She stated that in general, any of the following (although this list is not all-inclusive) warrant a visit to the Emergency Department: chest pain, trouble breathing, electric shock, severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), pregnancy complications such as bleeding or pain, seizures, head injuries, broken bones, joint dislocations, serious burns, severe bleeding, passing out, any condition involving a change in mental status, along with signs of a stroke, including weakness, numbness, or changes in speech; or anytime your “gut is telling you” to seek emergency care.
St. Lawrence Health System’s Canton-Potsdam Hospital (CPH), Gouverneur Hospital, and Massena Hospital Emergency Departments are open 24/7. Patients and their support person are required to wear a mask. CPH also has a Level III Trauma Center with a specialized team trained to respond to burns, falls, gunshot/stab wounds, severe car/motorcycle accidents, and traumatic brain injury.
When is it appropriate to go to Urgent Care?: animal or insect bites, mild allergic reactions, mild asthma, coughs or colds, minor vomiting or diarrhea, stomach ache, simple falls, fever, headache, minor infections (including urinary tract infection, ear infection, sinus infection, sore throat, or pink eye), nosebleeds, cuts that may require stitches, minor burns, or sports-related injuries including a sprain or strain.
Urgent Care is located at 49 Lawrence Ave., Potsdam; and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Patients are asked to call 315-261-5525 and press 1 before entering the building for an Urgent Care visit; masks are required. Patients with COVID symptoms are encouraged to call ahead and can be seen at Urgent Care.
For same-day appointments, SLHS operates Colton Primary Care, 8 Gulf Road, Colton. Same-day appointments are available for patients of the MH Medical Group, 181 Maple St., Massena. For a complete list of St. Lawrence Health System clinics, hours of operation, and phone numbers, visit https://www.stlawrencehealthsystem.org/hospitals-clinics.