June 5, 2020 by John Fernandez
The Right Kind of Care
With fall upon us, illness – like the flu – and injury from sports – like football and soccer – increase. As luck would have it, these usually occur when your doctor or your child’s regular pediatrician is unavailable.
Instead of spending unnecessary time in a hospital emergency room for minor injuries and illness, urgent care centers, like Baptist Health Urgent Care and those located within Baptist Medical Plazas throughout Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, offer an alternative without sacrificing the level of care.
William Kranichfeld, M.D., medical director of Baptist Health Urgent Care in northern Miami-Dade County and in Broward County, says it’s important to know the difference between urgent care and emergency care.
“I explain the difference between the two simply – if you fear your illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room,” he said. “If your doctor is unavailable and you have an illness, such as a sore throat or nausea, or if you have an injury, such as a broken finger, sprained ankle or skin irritation, an urgent care center is a more appropriate care setting.”
Jose Portuondo, M.D., medical director of Doctors Hospital’s Emergency Center in Coral Gables, echoes Dr. Kranichfeld’s explanation of when to seek emergency care. He warns choosing to go to the wrong type of facility can be dangerous, when time is of the essence, such as during a heart attack.
“If patients go to an urgent care center for an injury or illness that is too severe, the doctors there must stabilize them and transfer them to a nearby emergency room, wasting valuable time,” he said.
The latest emergency room technology and design, like that at Doctors Hospital’s newly renovated Emergency Center, offer resuscitation rooms and Clinical Decision Units to help doctors, nurses and staff provide the most effective and efficient care. Emergency Centers also accept patients from Fire-Rescue and EMS providers, critical partners in patient care, and are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Urgent care centers accept patients from private vehicles and have limited hours.
When looking for an urgent care center, Dr. Kranichfeld recommends seeking one that staffs nurses, technologists and physicians with the same level of expertise found in hospital emergency rooms.
“Baptist Health’s urgent care centers, including the newest to open in Sawgrass on the corner of Sunrise Boulevard and Flamingo Road in Broward County, have registered nurses, licensed X-ray technologists and Board-certified physicians,” he said.
The locations of all Baptist Health hospitals and urgent care centers, along with their estimated wait times, can be found on the PineApp, a free application available through the App Store and the Android App on Google Play.