Where to go when emergency rooms are full

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 8:14 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UAB wants you to know that many emergency rooms across the state are busy, including right here in Birmingham.

That’s why UAB wants you to know when to go to the emergency room, and when different forms of medical care might be better for you.

For instance, if you’re dealing with an illness that you don’t think is threatening your life, urgent care might be a better place for you.

“When there is a legitimate concern that there is a life or organ threatening condition, and if you have one of those, you go directly to the emergency department, and the expectation is that you’re seen right away,” said Marie-Carmelle Elie, M.D., endowed professor and chair of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Emergency Medicine. " Strokes, brain bleeds, heart attacks, major car accidents, those are the patients that generally go to emergency rooms.

UAB also said you shouldn’t use emergency rooms or urgent care as a replacement for a primary care doctor. That’s because it’s important to have a doctor that knows you and your medical history.

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