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How do doctors determine when a patient should enter emergency services?

Emergency rooms (ERs) are designed for people who need immediate medical treatment due to a possible life-threatening illness or accident. Doctors in the ER first evaluate a person's airway, breathing and circulation to determine if immediate emergency services are needed. In the case of minor injuries or illness, people may be better served at an urgent care center or their primary care doctor's office. This is important so that emergency services can be available to those who truly need emergency help.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.