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Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro.

ATTLEBORO — Officials at Sturdy Memorial Hospital have sent out guidance about where patients should go in certain medical situations.

It’s a public service to help patients make a decision in a stressful moment, a spokesman said.

There are three choices — primary care doctor, an urgent care facility or an emergency room.

“Choosing the right location for care is crucial in decreasing wait-room times and ensuring emergency resources are available for patients who truly need them,” spokesman David Salkovitz said in a press release.

A primary care provider should be the first point of contact in non-emergency situations, he said.

They often require less out-of-pocket payments and less time spent in waiting rooms compared to emergency and urgent care centers.

Sturdy Memorial primary care providers also offer virtual telehealth appointments.

People with medical issues that are not necessarily an emergency but still require medical attention should consider visiting an Urgent Care Center such as Sturdy Memorial Urgent Care – Plainville.

If the medical issue is something for which a patient would normally contact a primary care provider, but the office is not open, an urgent care center is likely more suitable.

It is important to remember to never delay emergency care.

Individuals experiencing symptoms of a stroke, heart attack, head injury, or another life threatening emergency, should always call 9-1-1.

Patients should go to the emergency department when experiencing the following symptoms:

Chest pain, especially if it is associated with sweating, shortness of breath, or radiation to the jaw or arm; difficulty breathing; allergic reactions that threaten breathing; heavy bleeding; vaginal bleeding in pregnancy: burns involving large areas of the body; sudden onset or severe headaches; head trauma while on blood thinners; head or eye injury; deep wounds; dislocated joints; major extremity injury with deformity; severe palpitations; severe abdominal or back pain; sudden testicular or pelvic pain; persistent vomiting; fainting/loss of consciousness episode; seizure without prior history of epilepsy; sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding speech, weakness of an arm or leg, or sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes; suicidal thoughts; baby 3 months or older with fever of 100.4 or greater.

Those experiencing the following symptoms should go to urgent care:

Sore throat; earaches; cough; cold or flu symptoms; sinus pain; mild shortness of breath related to asthma; minor cuts requiring sutures; minor burns; rashes (including poison ivy or tick bite related); abscess requiring drainage; minor extremity injuries; sports related injuries; mild back pain; muscular pain; vomiting, but still able to drink fluids; stomach pain (not severe); suspected gout flare; painful urination.

George W. Rhodes can be reached at 508-236-0432.