Search Our Site
You Are Here: Hand-Outs > Knowledge Library > Our Office vs Emergency Department Today's Date:
Printer Friendly Version
Word Version
PDF Version
Our Office vs Emergency Department vs Urgent Care?

Too often, parents visit the emergency room when it is not the best choice. Our office is always available 24 hours / 7 days a week including holidays to help you and your child. WHENEVER POSSIBLE, PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE FIRST.

We know your child the best and have all your child's medical records. We keep track of any health problems your child has. In most situations, we can treat your child in our office for any new or ongoing problems. If we feel your child needs to see a specialist, we can best refer you to a specialist we work with and get you an appointment in a timely manner. We will provide you with any pertinent medical information to take to the specialist that we feel will help the specialist better evaluate and treat your child.

When your child is sick After Hours or on Weekends, remember these 3 choices:
  1. Always Start With Calling Our Office
    1. If we are not in the office when you call, we have a live answering service you will speak to and they contact the person on call from our practice, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including on holidays. The person on call will return your call within 20 minutes. Depending on the problem, we may be able to help you over the phone.
    2. If we feel you need more emergent care, we can direct you to the appropriate Urgent Care or Emergency Room. We have access to your child's medical records even when not in the office. We can call ahead to the Urgent Care or ER to discuss your child's medical history and our concerns for referring your child.
  2. Emergency Department (ED)
    1. Emergency Room care is for life threatening illnesses or injuries. In some cases, your child may be excessively crying as if in pain and you don't know what the problem is. When in doubt, go to the ER. Try to call us in route if possible or when you arrive at the ER. We have access to your child's medical records even when we are not in the office. We can speak to the ER physician to discuss your child's medical history. In some cases, if we know ahead that the problem is serious, we can call ahead before you arrive to alert the ER about your child's condition which may help get your child evaluated sooner.
    2. For teenagers that are driving, never attempt to drive yourself to the emergency room if you experience any sort of severe chest pain or have passed out.
    3. ER's work on a priority system, meaning you could be waiting hours if your child's problem is determined by the ER triage nurse as not being serious or life threatening.
    4. Call 911 only if you can't get to a hospital quickly or if the nature of your child's illness or injury is such that it requires immediate medical attention.
  3. Urgent Care
    Urgent Care is for serious but not life threatening illnesses or injuries. The problem may require treatment by a Physician, Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner, but not in an emergency room.
    Most Urgent Cares ARE NOT staffed by Pediatric trained professionals. We have found Urgent Care's making the wrong diagnosis, performing unnecessary tests and prescribing the incorrect medicines and/or wrong doses of medicines.
    1. Urgent Cares have been asking patients to return for follow-up visits. If you go to an Urgent Care, do not return there for any follow-up visits. This is unnecessary. If any follow-up is necessary, this can better be done in our office.
    2. Please call our office whenever possible before you go to an Urgent Care. We are always available in the office or by phone after hours. We can better help treat your child and may save you a trip and long wait at an Urgent Care.
    3. Be sure that any Urgent Care you may visit is covered by your health insurance. Not all Urgent Care's participate with all insurance plans.
Who To See For Which Condition:

The best place to start
Problem requiring immediate care but not life threatening
Very serious or life threatening
  1. Regular yearly physicals, sports exams, driver's permits and vaccinations
  2. Asthma problems without difficulty breathing
  3. Burns- sunburn or other first degree burns
  4. Bruising- mild
  5. Constipation
  6. Cough, Colds and Flu
  7. Earaches
  8. Eye injuries or Pink eye
  9. Fever
  10. Headaches or Migraines
  11. Injuries- sprains, possible fractures or back pain
  12. Minor cuts and burns
  13. Rashes or Hives
  14. Sore throat
  15. Stomachache
  16. Toothache
  17. Urinary Tract problems
  18. Vomiting and Diarrhea
  1. Bruising without active bleeding
  2. Broken bones after severe injury
  3. Uncontrollable cough
  4. Wound care, stitches
  1. Asthma symptoms worsening
  2. Burns- severe
  3. Chest pain that is persistent
  4. Choking
  5. Fainting, extreme dizziness or passing out
  6. Head Trauma with loss of consciousness
  7. Injury with suspected broken bone and severe pain
  8. Medication overdose or suspected poisoning
  9. Numbness or loss of feeling in your hands or feet
  10. Seizure
  11. Severe motor vehicle accident
  12. Shortness of breath
  13. Swallowing a button battery
  14. Uncontrolled bleeding

Follow-Up Care

After a visit to an Urgent Care, Emergency Room or when your child is discharged from being admitted to the hospital for any reason, we ask that you call our office so we can get a copy of the records of your child's visit.

If possible, ask the Urgent Care, ER or Hospital to fax (215-487-1270) a copy of your child's records to our office related to the visit.

In most cases, we would like to see your child in our office soon after for follow-up of your child's visit and to review any pending X-rays, lab tests or medicines that were prescribed. In some cases, the problem may require a referral to a specialist.

Please do not make any appointments with specialists that the Urgent Care may recommend without speaking to our office first. We want to be sure the referral is to a specialist we feel will provide the best care for your child.

Printer Friendly Version
Word Version
PDF Version
The material on this website is intended to present information relating to the Office of Andorra Pediatrics. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Please do not send e-mails concerning your children if they are sick. No medical questions will be addressed from this web site. If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office.
Copyright 2004 Andorra Pediatrics
All Rights Reserved