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Your child has a terrible stomach ache.  You have a busy day and since you are near a retail medical care office, you drop in instead of going to your doctor or even the Emergency Department. Your child gets some antibiotics and seems to feel better.  Everything seems fine until their appendix ruptures two days later.  After an emergency appendectomy, your child is now hospitalized for peritonitis, a dangerous abdominal infection.

Retail Medical Clinics Are Expanding But Are They The Right Choice?

Retail medical clinics are coming to a strip mall or pharmacy near you.  As healthcare in America continues to evolve, neighborhood retail care centers are helping consumers obtain rapid, affordable medical service at a time and place convenient for them.  But is retail medical care always the best healthcare choice?  The answer might be, “it depends.”

The practice of medicine in America has come a long way—from the days of the small town doctor to networked, institutionally-owned medical groups.  For a significant cost up front, you can even sign up for concierge service to provide some of the immediate care and personal service once delivered by those small town docs.

Retail medical care is a swiftly advancing form of health care for local communities and medical consumers on the go.  Some of the advantages of big (or small) box retail medical care include:

  • Walk-in care is available along with scheduled appointments at many retail medical units.
  • Retail medical clinics are often operated by local drugstore chains like CVS, Kroger, and Walgreens and conveniently located within communities instead of medical campuses.
  • Often open late and on weekends, retail medical clinics cater to the after-hour and nighttime needs of consumers without a trip to the Emergency Department (ED).
  • With the squeeze on medical care dollars, retail medical clinics usually charge less than a visit to a traditional medical practice, and much less than an ED visit.

Retail medical clinics offer care for a menu of common physical ailments.  From ear infections to vaccinations and even advice on diet and nutrition, retail clinics can often provide fast service and information you need.  While this sounds good, there are downsides of the retail medical care model as well, including:

  • Relationship is important in medical care. Aware of the tendency toward diabetes in your family, your traditional healthcare provider may order tests when you complain of unusual thirst in the summertime.  When visiting a retail medical clinic, you may be told you are dehydrated and to drink energy drinks or plain water.  Because of reduced continuity of care, serious conditions may go untreated or misdiagnosed.
  • While nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, or even doctors may provide quick care with common ailments in a retail medical clinic, they may not have the expertise you need. Mistakes in care can quickly have a serious impact, as with a patient who is developing sepsis and is advised to sleep it off, or given a quick prescription for antibiotics and sent on their way.

Are The Risks Were The Benefits?

Retail medical clinics may save time and money for consumers, but when mistakes are made, the outcomes can be deadly.  Whenever you visit any healthcare provider, ask questions about your condition and diagnosis and be sure you understand the treatment.  If a medical mistake is made, be sure to get experienced legal advice.

Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys Help You In Baltimore And Washington, D.C.

Schochor, Staton, Goldberg, and Cardea, P.A. is a leading medical malpractice law firm with a track record of winning difficult, complex cases against institutional defendants.  If you or a family member suffered medical negligence, we can help.  Contact us today or call 410-234-1000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.