If you hurt yourself or your child suddenly falls ill in the middle of the night, you may be unsure whether you should go to the nearest emergency room immediately or wait until morning to visit an urgent care center. It helps to understand the difference in the level of care in an emergency room versus an urgent care center because rising healthcare costs strain both the healthcare system and patient pocketbooks.
A visit to the emergency room can be expensive because numerous tests are often done to diagnose the problem, and you or your child may receive intensive treatments. Diagnostic tests typically performed in an emergency room include blood tests, X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, electrocardiograms, MRIs and other high-tech hospital tests. Emergency rooms also can sedate a child who needs to have a painful procedure. Many ERs have surgeons and specialists on-call 24 hours a day.