You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

letters | patients’ choices for urgent care

No substitute in an emergency

URGENT CARE centers are an option for common medical problems, especially when a physician’s office is closed (“Urgent care centers in Mass. fill a gap,” Health & Wellness, Feb. 17). But they are not a substitute for emergency care, nor a solution for ER overcrowding.

The vast majority (92 percent) of emergency patients seek care appropriately, according to a Centers for Disease Control study. A recent RAND Corporation report also found that four in five people who contacted a primary care physician or other medical provider with an acute emergency were told to go directly to the ER.

Continue reading below

We agree with Dr. Nathan MacDonald, head of the emergency department at Lowell General, that “we just want people to be careful.” Patients should not be expected to diagnose themselves. It sends a dangerous health message and puts them at great risk.

If you think you have the symptoms of a medical emergency, seek emergency care immediately.

Dr. Alex Rosenau

Allentown, Penn.

The writer is president, of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.