If the entire team and the three coaches had not been there to see it they never would have believed it. On Thursday night one of the youngest gymnasts on the team landed her left hand awkwardly on the beam during her back handspring layout series. She landed in a heap on the padded floor under the beam. It didn’t seem too bad at first, but the immediate swelling was an indicator that something was probably not quite right. Quick x-ray tests at the urgent care center indicated a broken growth plate in her finger and hand and required a cast. Bright pink was her choice.
Two days later she was back at the gym, in theory just taking it easy and stretching. A few bounces on the trampoline later and she decided to try a one armed back handspring on floor. The uncasted arm collapsed and a few hours later the young gymnast was back at the urgent care clinic having more tests. This time a broken arm that required it being reset. This time a purple cast.
You do not have to be an athlete, and you do not need to have a broken arm to visit a quick care health clinic. In fact, walk in clinics are often a great alternative to either regular doctor office visits or emergency room visits. According to a survey by The Urgent Care Association of America, 57% of patients wait 15 minutes or less to be seen, and about 80% of all visits are 60 minutes or shorter.
Emergency room visits are often very expensive and are known for long wait times. Because both small and large injuries show up at hospital emergency rooms around the nation, the triage protocol is to treat patients according to the severity of the injury or illness. This means that a patient with a broken arm can spend in an inordinately long amount of time waiting. Likewise, a family physician’s office can also have long wait times. In addition, pediatric and family physician office waiting rooms are crowded with patients who have the latest flus and viruses. Quick care facilities, on the other hand, tend to treat patients faster at a less expensive price. Still staffed with licensed doctors and nurses, they are often the best option for patient care.
There are approximately 6.8 million bones broken in the U.S. each year and there are approximately 1 billion colds. Every one of these patients have a choice of where to receive treatment and tests. What will they decide? A crowded emergency room with long wait times? A family physician waiting room full of sick patients? Or, an urgent care facility that is known for quality, quick, and affordable care.