Serious bone breaks
A broken bone can be scary, especially if you aren’t sure whether you should go to the emergency room or not. Whether you decide to go or not, it’s important to understand what the situation looks like and how your healthcare provider will handle the issue at hand. Here are some key things that can help determine whether you should go or not in case of a broken bone.
Things you shouldn’t ignore
If your fracture is displaced, you’re younger than 65, or you’ve had a previous break in that same area, it’s crucial to seek medical attention right away. Delaying treatment can cause serious problems like nerve damage and permanent deformity. If your broken bones aren’t seriously out of place or compromised by poor blood flow, you can probably handle it at home with relative ease. Though every injury is different and should be evaluated on an individual basis, common types of fractures usually occur as a result of trauma to one of two types of bones: long or short. Long bones include your upper arm and thigh; short bones include those in your wrist and ankle. Here are three situations for which time is definitely not on your side
Things you can wait on but shouldn’t
Sprains and minor fractures should heal properly without an ER visit. In other words, if you break a finger, you may want to get x-rays at an urgent care facility just to be sure everything’s okay, but there’s no need to leave that finger in a splint for weeks on end. Similarly, unless a large cut is gushing blood or won’t stop bleeding after 10 minutes of pressure, you probably don’t need stitches. The longer you wait with these sorts of injuries—even just 24 hours—the harder it will be for them to heal properly on their own.
Non urgent but important things that should be addressed
simple fractures, sprains, lacerations, etc. that may need stitches or antibiotics should be brought to an urgent care clinic instead of waiting to see your family doctor at a later date. What to do: ER visits are reserved for emergencies only so it is imperative you call beforehand and get a sense of how busy they are. Typically there will be 2-3 hospitals within 10 minutes of your home. Try going to each one at different times during your off hours and on weekends to see which one has shorter wait times and more flexible scheduling with no appointments needed (most likely emergency room #1). Make sure you have someone else drive you—you won’t want to concentrate on driving home after such an upsetting experience.