emergency room

Moffat Mugwe

Health officials are asking soon-to-be revelers to remember that fireworks are much safer from a distance.

According to statistics compiled by the Florida Department of Health, 56 South Floridians visited the emergency room because of firework accidents last year. Sixteen of those individuals had injuries that were bad enough to require an overnight stay.

The most common injuries were severe burns, though more serious accidents can happen.

Timmy Gunz / Creative Commons/Flickr

It turns out some of South Florida's largest hospital systems are taking a page out of the urgent-care playbook.

Questions about the safety and efficiency of urgent-care and retail clinics were raised during Thursday's panel discussion at the Tower Forum, a monthly gathering of Broward County business professionals.

Broward-based Memorial Healthcare System opened its first urgent-care center in 1976, according to President and CEO Frank Sacco.

"We currently are tracking almost 60,000 visits at that urgent care center," says Sacco.

Three times in one week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo returned to the emergency room of the Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Southern California, seeking relief from intense back pain. Each time, Granillo waited a little while and then left the ER without ever being seen by a doctor.

"I was in so much pain, I wanted to be taken care of 'now,' " says Granillo. "I didn't want to sit and wait."

In the mid ‘70s, I had recently left the Army and started working as an emergency physician at a hospital in Huntsville, Alabama. It was a Wednesday, church night, and I was working the evening shift.

A woman in her thirties was brought in with a bullet wound in her leg. She told us that her boy friend had shot her during an argument. The wound didn't look serious; bleeding was minimal. It appeared to have been caused by a 32- or 38-caliber hand gun. I placed her in a room, ordered an X-ray, and sat at the physician desk to write up the chart.