Emergency Medicine


When an emergency or injury strikes, you know you need medical care, and our emergency department is open 24-hours a day.

But, what if you aren’t sure it’s a true emergency?  How can you tell the difference between a condition that requires an emergency room, or one that could be seen in our After Hours Clinic,  Oaklawn Express Care- Albion or primary care office?

The answer is not always simple, but knowing the difference between when you should seek emergency care and when you can wait could save your life.  Below are some guidelines to assist you when weighing your options.

An emergency is defined as a serious medical condition (including pain), injury or mental illness that requires immediate intervention to avoid disability or death.  In other words, care that is either “life-saving” or “limb-saving”.

Below are a few examples of when to seek emergency care (this list is not complete and should not be used as a substitute for good judgement).  If ever you are in doubt that your health is in jeopardy, you should either call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department.

  • Signs of a stroke; such as (but not limited to) numbness in the face, arms or extremities, slurred speech or confusion
  • Signs of a heart attack:  such as (but not limited to) chest pain lasting more than two minutes, pain in jaw, arms
  • Heart palpitations
  • Poisoning or accidental overdose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden testicular pain and swelling
  • Newborn with a fever
  • Weakness or paralysis
  • Suicidal or homicidal thoughts
  • Fractures or suspected complicated injuries
  • Head injury
  • Serious burns
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Vomiting blood, coughing up blood
  • Bloody stools

Situations that are not life-threatening may be able to be handled in your physicians office. Contact your primary care doctor to speak to them or to another provider to determine if an emergency department visit is necessary, or if could be handled in After Hours Express or Oaklawn Express Care- Albion.

Oaklawn’s After Hours Express (Marshall), Oaklawn Express Care – Albion, (and other urgent care centers) are equipped to care for:

  • Skin rashes, sunburns
  • Poison ivy
  • Colds, sore throats, cough, flu symptoms
  • Earache
  • Sprains
  • Minor cuts and bruises (when bleeding is controlled)
  • Sports physicals
  • Immunizations and tetanus

Be prepared

It is always a good idea to keep a list of the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements. Your list should also include all allergies, especially to medications. A list of medical procedures and surgeries along with the physicians or specialists who treated you. You will also be asked to provide personal identification and health insurance card.

You should be aware that the emergency department does not accept appointments, and patients are not necessarily seen in the order they arrive to the department, but instead, according to the seriousness of their condition or injuries. Please be aware that patients with less urgent conditions may have to wait longer times if other patients arrive and are determined to have life-threatening or more serious illness or injury. It is also important to note that mode of transportation does not change the wait time. Arriving in an ambulance does not jump you to the front of the line. The hospital staff still prioritizes by need and will triage every patient.