Where Should One Go for Health Care

When faced with a health issues, it isn’t always an easy choice to decide where to go for medical help. Should you go to the hospital’s emergency department or call your doctor?

The answer is: It depends.

Times to choose an emergency department are when you are experiencing a life-threatening, time-sensitive health problem, including:

  • Signs of a serious health problem, which can include: shortness of breath; chest pain, tightness, or discomfort; signs of stroke (arm pain/numbness, slurred speech and facial drooping);  or when someone is not responsive or cannot answer questions that would normally be easy for them to answer; or
  • If someone has experienced a trauma, which can include a broken bone, deep lacerations, head injury, etc.

In those situations, it is always smart to call 911. When someone needs immediate medical attention or is unable to drive to the nearest emergency department, call 911.

There are other medical situations, he said, that can best be managed by the providers in a medical home, or primary care office.

For illnesses that are clearly no emergency, such as a cough or sore throat, first try to see your family doctor. Your doctor, or provider, is the person who best knows you and your medical history.

Another type of medical complaint best handled by a family provider involves ongoing care for chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. For example, if a patient is dissatisfied with a medication, changing the medicine or dosage is a decision for the provider who knows the patient’s medical background.

Benefits of having a regular provider or medical home include:

  • Having a medical relationship with someone who knows your history, concerns and lifestyle;
  • Access to communication through the patient portal to make or reschedule appointments, etc..

The Hancock County Medical Clinics in Britt, Garner, Kanawha and Wesley are welcoming new patients. Each has their own regular hours of business and Saturday morning clinics are offered on an alternating schedule in Britt and Garner. For more information, call 641-843-5050.


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