When Langdon Cassidy, a League City resident, began showing signs of having a heart attack on a Sunday evening this past May, his son and wife leapt into action quickly performing CPR and calling 9-1-1.
That call made its way to the League City Fire Department where the team on duty responded and then transported Cassidy to the UTMB Health Clear Lake Emergency Room. Once there, it was confirmed that he had a heart attack and one of his major arteries was 100% blocked.
The team at the hospital wasted no time performing labs, tests and X-rays, administering medications and inserting a stent, ultimately saving Cassidy’s life.
Had the doctors and nurses not been ready and prepared to make the swift moves they made that evening, the outcome may have been much different – and that’s something Cassidy and his family acknowledge.
“EMS worked on me for 47 minutes at the house until they got me to the point where I could be transported to the hospital,” Cassidy said. “I was ‘juiced’ twice with 300 joules because I was flatlining. I was told this was a miracle, and from EMS to the nurses to the doctors to the financial person who made sure our insurance went through the right way—everybody has been awesome.”
Cassidy’s story is just one example of what can happen after hours on a weekend and why it’s so important for people to have access to high-quality emergency and urgent care services in the communities where they live and work.
Recognizing that need, UTMB Health has been intentional in the placement of its four hospital campuses in Clear Lake, League City, Angleton and Galveston and its six urgent care locations in Clear Lake, League City, Texas City, Alvin, Angleton and Galveston, in an effort to ensure that the residents situated across the Southeast Texas region can get the health care they need, regardless of the time of day.
Staffed by a number of world-class clinicians, the Emergency Departments in each hospital are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the Urgent Care locations are open for 12 hours most days.
Designed to take pressure off of the hospital system and accommodate immediate needs, urgent care is an important service offered by UTMB Health.
Julie Hill, Nurse Manager for Urgent Care Services at UTMB Health, oversees four of these locations including the urgent care facilities in Galveston, League City, Texas City and the newly-reopened location in Clear Lake. Hill said she is always onboarding new employees to make sure locations have enough staff to meet the needs of those coming through their doors.
During a typical summer, patient volume is usually lower, but this summer, urgent care facilities throughout Houston have seen an influx of patients with COVID-19. Hill said she thinks the surge may be at its peak and some of the rush will now be alleviated, but ultimately, the urgent care centers have been integral to managing the volume of sick residents in the area.
“Our whole objective [at urgent care] is not to take away from primary care, but to act as a second hand—and we actually bring in new patients to the UTMB system,” Hill said.
All six of the urgent care centers have the ability to see patients in person who may be sick with COVID-19 along with options to test patients for the virus. Within the last year, UTMB has expanded these offerings into primary care centers and adjusted operations to provide booster shots and vaccinations on-site.
For primary care doctors like Dr. Angela Raimer, these additions have been helpful because patients come in more readily for checkups to make sure they do not have the virus. Raimer also said urgent care centers have on-site X-rays – a feature many patients appreciate when they’re trying to avoid going to a hospital for care.
Raimer said an important part of UTMB serving as the community’s medical home is the ability to have access to same-day treatment, which urgent care centers allow.
“As a primary care physician I feel this way and as a mom I feel this way: When our patients are sick, they need to be seen, and our urgent care centers allow that,” Raimer said. “They may not be able to see their primary care doctor, but the UTMB system shares electronic medical records and the person who sees you will have your medical history from your primary care doctor.”
Hill said she has deep loyalty to the UTMB staff and patients.
“Urgent care has been my heart and soul for so long, and it has moments where it can be stressful, but it’s gratifying overall,” she said. “There’s nothing we can’t do to try and help our community within our urgent cares.”
For more information about the UTMB Health urgent and emergency care services, visit utmbhealth.com/uc-er. To see a list of health issues UTMB accommodates at its urgent care centers, click here. Find more general information about UTMB Health on the website.
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