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By Devin Rose
A new health center set to open in River Forest on the site of the former Plunkett Furniture store will take care of patients' fractures, lacerations, infections and other immediate medical needs, beginning this month.
Staff from the Gottlieb Center for Immediate Care at River Forest, 7617 W. North Ave., held a private open house Monday — which included a prayer for and tour of the nearly 10,000-square-foot facility — before it officially opens Feb. 6.
That day, physicians will begin offering orthopedic and podiatry services like joint replacement, pediatric orthopedics, spine surgery and sports medicine, according to a statement from Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.
Immediate care services will be offered starting Feb. 13. No appointments are needed for immediate care, which could include fevers, allergic reactions or "weekend warrior" injuries like broken or sprained bones.
The center will also offer X-rays, CT scans and blood tests. Primary care physicians as well as obstetrician and gynecology services will be added at the facility in the spring, said Trish Cassidy, president of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.
The center is something that River Forest residents have wanted for years because many were tired of driving to urgent care centers further away, said Dr. Brian Proctor, an ophthalmologist at Gottlieb.
Immediate care services will be available until 10 p.m. during the week, which is longer than most regular doctors' offices, said Dr. Nate Jones, the facility's full-time immediate care physician. Two part-timers will also work in immediate care.
Jones said the center hopes to cut down on the waiting time of patients who come in with minor problems like sore throats. In a regular emergency room, they could be waiting for hours, he said.
"Many of our physicians live in Oak Park and River Forest and are delighted to have a center close to their homes, where they can practice and take care of their neighbors," Cassidy said in the statement.