Most parents, at some time, will face the decision of whether to bringing their child to the Emergency Department (ED). It can be a scary and confusing situation for children and parents alike, but this list of frequently asked questions about ED visits might help settle confusion.
Knowing when a child’s condition reaches a level in which it needs emergency care can be difficult. After all, children are not small adults. They might display different symptoms than adults, and some symptoms that aren’t serious for an adult can be very serious--even dangerous--for children.
Staff members at the Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department at CHOC Children’s Hospital advise parents to follow their parental instincts. The Emergency Department is not just for critically ill children and treats a variety of ailments, big and small, from broken bones to small abrasions to headaches. No matter is too small, and no patient is turned away. Whether or not the child needs treatment, parents will leave the ED with reassurance and education.
For any parent, the notion of rushing a child to an Emergency Department in an ambulance is terrifying. In a critical situation, parents want to get their child help as soon as possible at the closest facility possible. But should the right circumstances occur, parents can request which Emergency Department the ambulance will visit. As a common courtesy, transport teams will honor the request to the best of their ability. If the child is suffering from critical illness or fatal injury that requires absolute immediate attention, the medic team will take the child to the closest Emergency Department.
CHOC Children’s does not require approval from a patient’s healthcare provider to offer care at the Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department. However, families should consult with their insurance provider for more specific information regarding coverage specifics.
The Emergency Departmet at CHOC Children's is designed for fast triage, quick diagnosis and speedy treatment to streamline each visit, but it is difficult to estimate how long a visit will take. Many things factor into the length of a visit, including the type and severity of the child’s ailment, as well as the other patients visiting the ED that day. Patients are generally seen in the order of their arrival, but children with serious illnesses or injuries may be seen first. In this case, you might notice patients who arrived after you being called ahead of you. Also, the ED physician who is treating your patient might be interrupted to respond to a sudden, critical emergency. Please remain patient and calm during your visit. Know that the comfort of you and the child are a top concern for all ED staff, and they are working hard to provide quality, efficient care to all patients they are privileged to serve.
There’s no difference – except you won’t see “ED” reruns on television.