Acute Care: Making the Right Call


Defining acute is a good way to begin a discussion about acute care. Merriam-Webster defines it as: “a: characterized by sharpness or severity (acute pain) (an acute infection) b: (1): having a sudden onset, sharp rise, and short course (an acute disease) (an acute inflammation).” Therefore, acute care refers to addressing the needs of patients with an immediate/time-sensitive, short-term, medical issue. This includes all preventive, curative, rehabilitative or even palliative care when indicated.

As populations continue to grow and age, there is increasing demand for acute care services that can respond to life-threatening emergencies, acute problems of chronic illnesses, and many routine health problems that nevertheless require prompt action. The term acute care encompasses a range of clinical health-care functions, including emergency medicine, trauma care, pre-hospital emergency care, acute care surgery, critical care, urgent care, and short-term inpatient stabilization.

With this broad range of functions, how do you know where to go for medical care when you’re ill or injured? How do you decide whether to go an acute care doctor or the emergency room? If you think you’re experiencing a life-threatening or severe condition, it’s always best to call 911 or go directly to the Emergency Department. If appropriate, they will bring in or refer you to an acute care specialist.

Dr. Johnson was one of the early fellows in the country to complete an Acute Care Surgery fellowship at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, learning how to treat individuals with acute surgical needs, such as life-threatening injuries, acute appendicitis or strangulated hernias, and acute life- or limb-threatening medical and potentially surgical needs. He knows how to provide the best operative and post-operative care available for patients with a wide range of surgical problems including abdominal pain, gallbladder inflammation and stones, along with many other conditions. To learn more about acute care and the services Dr. Johnson offers email him at or call his clinic at (702) 369-7152.

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