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Question: How do I know when to go to an urgent care center or emergency department for treatment?


Answer: When a health situation occurs, it can be difficult to know whether an urgent care center or the nearby hospital emergency department is most appropriate for treatment. “If you’re not sure about whether it is necessary to see a doctor, the best advice is to call your primary care physician, even if it’s after-hours or over the weekend. He or she can advise you based on the situation,” says Dr. Robert Pachner, Medical Director of Columbia St. Mary’s urgent care centers.

However, as Dr. Pachner explains, because many people don’t have personal physicians, urgent care offers another point of access to quality health care. Call the closest urgent care center and ask to speak with a nurse or physician to find out which facility is most appropriate for your care.

In addition to asking for professional advice, patients can use the following guidelines when deciding if an emergency department or urgent care center is most appropriate.

Some examples of conditions appropriate for urgent care include:

  • Minor cuts with mild bleeding 
  • Sinus infections, sore throat or fever
  • Cough and cold symptoms, including earaches
  • Mild headache
  • Rashes
  • Pink eye
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Back pain
  • Injury to foot, ankle, knee, hand, wrist or elbow
  • Minor burns
  • Insect or minor animal bites

Urgent care centers are here for life's little mishaps and illnesses. The centers are staffed by Columbia St. Mary’s Urgent Care physicians, have in-house lab and x-ray services and accept all major insurance providers. When you can't get in to see your physician, no appointment is no problem at an urgent care center. Columbia St. Mary’s is currently operating five urgent care centers.

Cathedral Square Urgent Care Center 
734 N. Jackson Street, downtown
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Phone: (414) 277-6500
Hours: Monday - Friday: 7:00 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Cedar Mills Medical Group 
N143 W6515 Pioneer Road
Cedarburg, WI 53012
Phone: (262) 387-4930
Hours: Monday - Friday: 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Open most holidays – please call first.

River Woods Urgent Care Center 
375 W. River Woods Parkway
Glendale, WI 53212
Phone: (414) 963-7100
Hours: Monday - Friday: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Open most holidays - please call first.

Marsho Family Medical Group – Sheboygan 
1703 N. Taylor Drive
Sheboygan, WI 53081
Phone: (920) 457-4438
Hours: Monday - Friday: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday: 8:30 am - 11:30 am
Sundays and Holidays: closed

Columbia St. Mary’s Medical Commons Grafton 
2061 Cheyenne Court
Grafton, WI 53024
Phone: (262) 376-1934
Monday - Friday: 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm


Of course, if you suspect a life-threatening condition, immediately call 9-1-1.   Also, some health conditions almost always warrant a visit to the emergency room: 

  • Severe bleeding that will not stop
  • Serious difficulty in breathing
  • Change in mental status (such as unusual behavior, confusion, difficulty awakening)
  • Chest pain
  • Choking, coughing or vomiting blood
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Feelings of wanting to harm yourself or someone else
  • Head or spine injury
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Sudden injury due to a motor vehicle accident
  • Burns or smoke inhalation
  • Near drowning
  • A deep or large wound
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness or change in vision
  • Swallowing a poisonous substance
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Carbon monoxide exposure
  • Sudden blindness or severe eye injury
  • Partial or full paralysis
  • Sexual assault
  • Pregnancy-related concerns
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Snake or animal bites
  • Suspected broken bones


Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Ozaukee Emergency Entrance

Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital
Ozaukee Emergency Entrance

Columbia St. Mary’s is proud to provide emergency care at both of its main hospitals, Columbia St. Mary's Hospital Milwaukee and Columbia St. Mary's Hospital Ozaukee. Each emergency department is staffed 24 hours-a-day with board-certified emergency physicians and highly skilled nurses. Our professional staff is committed to provide a high level of care for all types of emergencies.

Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Milwaukee 
2323 N. Lake Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 291-1200

Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Ozaukee 
13111 N. Port Washington Road
Mequon, WI 53097
(262) 243-7373


Columbia St. Mary's

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