Coffee Talk with Dr. Marco Coppola

Coffee Talk with Dr. Marco Coppola

Emergency rooms and urgent cares not affiliated with a major hospital are just about everywhere you look these days. There’s certainly no lack of places to go for healthcare, any time at day or night. It got us thinking about choices and what matters most when deciding when to wait to see a general practioner during regular office hours, go to an urgent care or an emergency room. We caught up with Dr. Marco Coppola and asked him to weigh in.

Family Urgent Care PLUS: Good Morning, Dr. Coppola! You’ve been busy lately between your shifts at the ER, visits to Fort Hood’s Carl R Darnall Army Medical Center and meeting at The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). Thanks for taking a few minutes to speak with us.

Family Urgent Care PLUS: Yes, it’s been busy lately, but you know I always have time for questions. That’s what I do!

Family Urgent Care PLUS: We were wondering about all the choices available in healthcare. How do we know what type of place to go?

Dr. Coppola: There are a lot of choices, which is great. However, there are differences people should be aware of. For instance, with freestanding emergency rooms, people should know they may not actually be seeing an emergency physician when they go to a freestanding ER.  At Family ER + Urgent Care, we firmly believe that the best emergency care is delivered by physicians who have completed an emergency medicine residency and are certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) or the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine (AOBEM).  At our center, ALL  of our full time physicians are certified by either ABEM or AOBEM.  The average number of years of experience our physicians have in emergency medicine is twice to three times that most of other freestanding ERs and some hospital ERs.    We have all worked and trained at major trauma centers  and two of us are highly decorated combat veteran-physicians.  I can’t think of another freestanding ER, or hospital ER, that can stake that claim.

Family Urgent Care PLUS: What about equipment, is that important, too?

Dr. Coppola: Yes, very. First, most urgent cares do not have high-quality, hospital grade lab or X-ray equipment on-site. Many urgent cares are simply a place to get a sore throat checked or something very minor. There’s very little they can do if the problem is more extensive. They don’t have the medical equipment necessary to handle a bigger problem. At our centers, we have state-of-the-art equipment. We have CT scanners and portable digital x-rays machines that are normally only seen at major hospitals and even some of them don’t have the equipment we do!

Family Urgent Care PLUS: There certainly is a difference! But, how do we need to know when we need to go to a facility like ours, or just wait to visit our regular doctor during his/her normal office hours?

Dr. Coppola: The basic rule of thumb is: if you don’t know, go. That’s the beauty of our ER + Urgent Care model.  If you just don’t know, our highly trained and skilled emergency nurses will triage you to determine if you need to be seen in the ER or if your condition can be treated in the urgent care.  If you’re not feeling right, feeling terribly bad or just generally concerned something is wrong, you should get it checked out. It’s better to be seen by a doctor than wait and guess. Sometimes what you think is a minor problem, like a cough, can be sepsis or pneumonia. It’s rare, but possible. The benefit of facilities like ours is that there’s no scheduling an appointment or waiting. We can see you immediately. We’re here when it’s convenient for people to come, whether that’s at 7:00 p.m. after soccer practice and homework is done, or at noon when you’re on a lunch break at work.

Family Urgent Care PLUS: Thanks, Dr. Coppola. You’ve helped shed some light on some important topics for us today.

Dr. Coppola: You’re welcome! Never hesitate to ask…

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