Health Care

When Accidents Happen: Urgent Care or ER?

when accidents happen title with image of front of emergency department adventhealth gordon

When you or your family need urgent medical care, it’s helpful to know where to go to help you heal and feel your best again. Both the emergency room (ER) and our urgent care clinics are here for you in your time of need but it’s helpful to know which place to go depending on your health situation.

Urgent Care vs. Emergency Room Care

When it comes to urgent care vs. ER care, the key difference is the severity of the illnesses and injuries that ERs and urgent care clinics treat. Whether you or your loved one has a sore throat, a stomachache or a sports injury, you can trust us with expert, compassionate medical care at one of our urgent care locations.

However, if your symptoms are severe, a trip to the emergency room is warranted so you can be tended to quickly and get the best possible care in our full-service ER. If you are or could be experiencing life-threatening symptoms, call 911 right away instead of going to an urgent care facility.

When to Visit an Urgent Care Clinic

Urgent care facilities are for non-emergency situations; it’s the same as a walk-in clinic for everyday illnesses or injuries, such as conditions that family doctors treat. This kind of care is meant to be convenient with short wait times available outside of regular office hours, like on evenings and weekends.

Illnesses and Injuries an Urgent Care Clinic Treats

Here are some of the conditions that might bring you to an urgent care clinic:

  • Allergies
  • Animal and insect bites
  • Cold symptoms, such as headache, cough and congestion
  • Ear infections
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Minor bone fractures, sprains or injuries
  • Pink eye
  • Skin conditions
  • Sports physicals
  • Strep throat
  • Urinary tract infections

In cases like above, the best option is to visit an urgent care clinic like AdventHealth Medical Group Urgent Care at Calhoun, AdventHealth Medical Group Urgent Care Calhoun City Schools or AdventHealth Medical Group Urgent Care Adairsville Health Park. You can walk in without an appointment, or you can call to schedule an appointment. The wait time is usually short, you can get answers right away and the cost to you is lower than the emergency room.

When to Visit an Emergency Room

Time is of the essence when you’re caught off-guard with a medical emergency. It’s normal to feel shaken and scared, but our emergency department is here to help 24/7, including weekends and holidays.

After experiencing intensifying chest pain during a community school visit, Calhoun Police Chief Tony Pyle went to the emergency room to seek treatment.

“Once I checked in, the team took really good care of me. They walked me through the whole process and told me what was happening which is how I found out I had in fact had a heart attack,” said Pyle.

Emergency room visits are for emergency situations that can result in the loss of a limb, life or result in permanent damage. While our ER works to keep its wait times low, it is typically longer than urgent care wait times. Patients are seen based on how urgent a case is, so the wait can be in constant flux.

During the summer, AdventHealth Gordon’s emergency room routinely sees an increase in orthopedic and heat-related issues. Recently, COVID-19 has become more rampant in our community as the prevailing variant continues to spread through family gatherings and travel exposure. However, we are seeing fewer hospitalizations and death due to COVID-19. Masking is still required by the CDC in health care settings for both staff and patients and the AdventHealth team makes sure to maintain safe, clean facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Signs You Should Go to the Emergency Room

According to Emergency Department Director Kevin Rodman, the three factors to consider when deciding between going to an urgent care versus the ER is:

  1. The urgency/emergent nature of the situation
  2. The need of certain testing for diagnosing or symptoms
  3. The costs needed to provide emergency care 24/7

An emergency requires immediate attention to prevent death or loss of limb or body function. These cases might include massive bleeding, broken bones, allergic reactions such as anaphylactic shock, major head injury, poisoning, chest pain, pregnancy-related medical conditions, seizures, breathing difficulties, severe illness or suspected stroke. The ER’s availability of lab services, CT scans, X-Rays, surgeons and specialists deliver an efficient system of care.

In many cases, time is critical for the best possible outcome.

“We have had several incidents where people stayed at home, delaying coming in for several days in an emergent situation. When they came and we identified the situation, we also identified that damage was already done that we could not reverse,” said Rodman.

After an ER visit, oftentimes patients will be referred to a specialty physician who is able to follow the case and more fully identify the cause of an individual’s condition. Health can change over time and continued diagnostic care is sometimes needed.

BE FAST – Symptoms of a Stroke

The BE FAST acronym is helpful to recognize a stroke in yourself or someone else. If you are experiencing these symptoms, call 911 or head to the ER right away, as every second counts to intervene to prevent further damage to the brain.

Balance – Are you off balance or feeling dizzy?

Eyes – Is your vision impaired or suddenly lost in one or both eyes?

Face - Is any part of the face drooping when you smile or looks uneven?

Arms – Does one arm or leg feel weak, paralyzed or difficult to lift?

Speech – Do you have sudden slurred speech or difficulty finding or pronouncing words?

Time – Time to call 911. Make sure to pay attention to the time your symptoms started as every second counts.

Quick and Convenient Care, Right in Here in Calhoun

When every minute counts, you can count on us. Whether you need urgent care or ER attention, our urgent care clinics and emergency departments will help you feel safe with all the care you need to get you on the path to recovery and feeling whole again as soon as possible. Map out the location nearest to you so you know where to go when the unexpected happens.

AdventHealth Medical Group Urgent Care at Calhoun

8 am to 8 pm, 7-days-a-week

100 Hospital Dr., Calhoun


AdventHealth Medical Group Urgent Care Adairsville Health Park

Monday through Friday from 8 am to 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm

21 Commerce Pkwy, Adairsville


AdventHealth Medical Group Urgent Care Calhoun City Schools

Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 7:30 pm (Closed daily from 12 to 1 pm)

101 Yellow Jacket Drive, Calhoun


AdventHealth Gordon Emergency Room

24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week

1035 Red Bud Rd NE, Calhoun


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