Do You Need the ER or Urgent Care?

At Mount Sinai, we understand it can be hard for you to know whether your medical issue needs urgent or emergency care. So we’ve compiled some scenarios to help you test your knowledge. Read the six situations below, decide if you’d seek urgent or emergency care for each, then check your answers at the bottom of the page.

The Scenarios

  1. It’s Thanksgiving and your turkey still isn’t carved. With your best knife you quickly slice through 15 lbs. of meat—and your finger.
  2. Three Tums ™ usually relieve you of heartburn, but after taking eight, you are still in great discomfort. You’re wondering if the pain in your chest is more serious than you initially thought. Could it be a heart attack?
  3. Your daughter excitedly raced out of the house with her new scooter, but when she returned she was limping. Her leg looks swollen, and she cannot move it.
  4. Your favorite baby niece is visiting for the weekend, and she’s been up screaming since 1:00 am. Four hours later she is still crying and pulling her ear.
  5. While undertaking Operation Spring Cleaning, your husband accidently scrapes his arm against a rusty nail in your broom cabinet.
  6. Sipping your Saturday coffee is painful this morning. You go to the bathroom mirror to check your throat and notice white spots on your tongue.

The Answers

For scenarios such as 1 and 2—which involve severe lacerations and possible signs of a heart attack—seek emergency room care immediately. For the remaining scenarios 3-6, go to a Mount Sinai Urgent Care Center, where fast, quality care is available when you need it most.