When your child ends up in the emergency room

Smiling child at pediatric emergency care in Abilene

Most parents try to “keep it together” when they must bring their child to the Emergency Care in Abilene or Emergency Room anywhere as far as that goes. The problem is the healthcare professionals are working on a piece of your heart walking around on the outside of your body, and it is hard to stay rational. Some parents stay quiet and polite when they should be speaking up. Some will go to the extreme and tell the staff, “STOP this bleeding now!” While other parents will pass out by the patient’s bedside and wind up on another gurney. We take care of the parents too at Children’s Emergency Care in Abilene.

No matter what, you are your child’s advocate in the Emergency Room.

There is no unique formula to it. The doctors are supposed to have the skill. They are not God; they are people like you and me. Do not be afraid to talk to them. Most of the time they are rushed, and they do not know everything about your child. They might not cover everything that is worrying you about your child when they look at them. You need to tell them everything to put the puzzle pieces together for them. They need your help. When it comes to your child, you are the expert. You may feel like you are a pain in the ‘you know where.’ Do not worry about it; this is for your child. To make it less painful for the doctor you could say something like, “Doc, I want to work with you on this, and I am going to do my best to be clearheaded and give you the information you need to help my child.”

How to Help the ER Doctor Help Your Child

The following are some ideas of things to share with your ER doctor at the Pediatric Emergency Care in Abilene.

  • Making sure your child copes with the medical visit.  Don’t beat around the bush; instead tell the doctor up front how your child will react to: “He/she doesn’t like getting blood drawn, has a low pain tolerance or never complains about anything, trouble laying still, shots, being sick, or anything having to do with doctors.”
  • For parents, it is the first time to deal with this.  For your physician, most of what happens is routine, but for you as parents, it is not. Ask questions, and by doing so, this should be enough of a reminder for your doctor to explain everything slowly, thoroughly, and clearly.
  • Let the doctor know if he/she never complains or he/she is a whiner and complains all the time.
    Sharing this with the doctor will let him know that there is something different with your child and that you were worried enough about it to bring them into the ER. It might be hard for you to put your finger on but try to tell the doctor your biggest concern. The doctor can look at that concern, address it, and help you not to sit around worrying about it.
    Even with telling all this to the doctor will not guarantee a quick diagnosis. There will be some conditions that may not fully reveal themselves for a time. More testing may be needed. Ask the physician if they are running more tests to rule out other things and looking for anything specific. Have them be honest with you. Ask your child’s doctor when you will discuss the issue again, as all of this seems to be a waiting game.

Before You Leave the Emergency, Room Know These Four Things

When we are worried, we forget to ask a question or two and maybe not give a detail we feel is essential. Before you leave the hospital be sure to know these four things:

Your Child’s Diagnosis. No matter what, you need to make sure, you are clear on what the doctor said your child is going to be treated for.

Plan of Treatment. You need to know how they are planning on addressing the medical problem and what comfort measures they plan on taking. If your child is having nausea or pain, know what options there are for your child.

The Planned Follow-Up. Maybe it is an appointment with a specialist or a pediatrician, but it is going to be rare if there is nothing they would want you to do for follow up. At the least, touch bases with your child’s pediatrician and tell them what has happened as soon as possible and see if they agree with the follow-up plan. You cannot depend on the Emergency Room to pass along the information for you.

What reasons you should return to the Emergency Room for: Most of the time after you leave the emergency room, some follow-up will need to happen, but usually out of the hospital arena. You should ask what to look for in signs and symptoms that you might need to come back to the emergency room or urgent care for if required. It is a good idea to ask when to expect things to return to normal.

Make sure you understand the treatment plan

It seems this part is what parents get more confused about than any other. You are hearing a lot at once and hearing that you are taking your child home. You start to relax some, and the doctor is on his way out the door. But there might be some things you need to know yet, like if your child can go to school, can they play in sports, if not, when? Is there medication? Go over the dosage amount and the timing and the reasons it is being taken. Ask if the prescribed meds could interact with anything else your child might be taking and when you should give the next dose.

There is so much paperwork in your hand when you and your child is discharged that is hard to take the time to read the discharge instructions before leaving, but it is a good idea to do so, because the doctor may not have mentioned one of the items.

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