When should I go to the emergency department vs. a clinic for health care?

When faced with a health issue, it isn't always an easy choice to decide where to go for medical help. Should you go to the hospital's emergency department or call your doctor? The answer is: It depends.

The Emergency Department should be where you go when you are experiencing a life-threatening, time-sensitive health problem, including:

• Shortness of breath; chest pain, tightness, or discomfort; signs of stroke (arm pain/numbness, slurred speech and facial drooping); or when someone is not responsive or cannot answer questions that would normally be easy for them to answer; or

• If someone has experienced a trauma, which can include a broken bone, deep lacerations, head injury, etc.

In those situations, it is always smart to call 911.