Can You Avoid a Trip to the Emergency Room?

Can You Avoid a Trip to the Emergency Room?

Updated August 2020

No one enjoys a trip to the Emergency Room – it’s loud, you wait forever and costs are through the roof. It was reported by that the “average Emergency Room costs vary wildly based on treatment, but a 2013 National Institute of Health study put the median cost at $1,233.” But the worst part, outside of cost? Many of these visits aren’t even necessary. The New England Health Institute reported that 56% of Emergency Room visits were “totally avoidable.” So the question presents itself, when do you need to go to the Emergency Room and when can you see a doctor on Amwell? Our very own Dr. Lisa Thompson – a board-certified Emergency Medicine physician – shares where you should go to receive treatment based on your symptoms.

Conditions such as cough, back and neck pain, nausea, urinary tract infection (UTI), and headaches can easily be treated by doctors who practice on Amwell. Additionally, visits are affordable ($79 per visit), and a huge time saver (average of 10 minutes per visit). But if any of the conditions listed below become too severe, you should immediately seek emergency care

You should go to the ER if you have any of the following symptoms:  


Back and Neck Pain

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling in your arms
  • Coughing with a fever that is not improving with anti-inflammatories (Advil, ibuprofen, etc.)
  • Numbness and weakness in your arms or legs
  • Uncontrollable bowels
  • Fever
  • Inability to walk



  • Blood in your stool
  • Unable to keep down sips of fluid
  • Vomiting blood
  • Symptoms for longer than 48 hours
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Lightheaded, dizzy or passing out
  • Fever
  • Change of vision
  • Numbness or weakness in your body
  • Fever
  • Neck pain
  • Uncontrollable vomiting
  • Lightheaded, dizzy or passing out

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

  • Fever
  • Back pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Inability to urinate


Bookmark this page to use as a resource the next time you're deciding if you should see a doctor at home with Amwell or with a visit to your nearest ER.  

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