Urgent versus Emergency Care

January 21, 2020

urgent vs emergency Denver health

When it comes to getting care when you suddenly get sick or injured, it's important to know the difference between urgent vs. emergency care and what type of care you should seek out. 

Denver Health Downtown Urgent Care director Michael Breyer, M.D. explains when you can get your symptoms or injuries taken care of at urgent care and when you really need to get to an emergency room.

When to Seek Urgent Care

"If it's something that you think you can handle with your primary care doctor, but you can't get an appointment in a timely fashion, then urgent care really is the best option for you," Dr. Breyer said.

He noted that the Denver Health Downtown Urgent Care treats patients with a wide variety of ailments, including:

Watch Denver Health Downtown Urgent Care director Michael Breyer, M.D. explain the difference between urgent and emergency care in this short video.
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Joint sprains
  • Altitude sickness
  • Skin infections
  • and more


When to Seek Emergency Care 

When it comes to seeking emergency care, Dr. Breyer said you should trust your own instincts.

Emergency care is the best choice for patients who are:

  • Worried they are having a heart attack
  • Having a Stroke 
  • Suffering from major traumatic injuries, such as a bad car accident


"If you are concerned it could be something serious or life-threatening, then please call 911 and head to the emergency department," Dr. Breyer stressed.

How Denver Health Can Help 

Denver Health has an Emergency Department at 777 Bannock St. with experts ready to serve patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We offer urgent care at five locations throughout the state, including the Denver Health Downtown Urgent Care – a full functioning clinic, located at 1545 California St., in the heart of downtown Denver. No appointments are needed, and you can walk-in or check-in online.

"We're here if you need us," said Dr. Breyer.