Whether it’s a trampoline injury, a burn or a virus, making a trip to the emergency room can be a scary experience for kids and their parents.
So how can moms and dads make sure they’re getting the best care for their child? It could start with choosing a hospital where children are the focus, says Ahmed A. Bazzi, D.O., a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.
At the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, which just opened its newly renovated Emergency Department this month, each person on staff is trained specifically to work with kids. That includes everyone from the nurses to the radiologists and specialists.
“Being in a pediatric emergency department such as the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, the physicians are pediatric trained,” Dr. Bazzi says.
In fact, every aspect of the hospital and its team is geared specifically to the young patients.
“Everybody is tending to the child – the pediatric nurses starting IVs, the theme, the comfort, the child life specialists that can comfort a child in a lot of emotional distress,” he notes.
Parents should know that’s not necessarily the case when they visit other hospitals or when they visit urgent care centers instead of an emergency room. Even X-rays taken at an urgent care facility are sometimes problematic, Dr. Bazzi says.
“The X-rays are suboptimal and some of the radiologists that read these are not pediatric trained,” he says.
But at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, “you have specialists that are available to support the Emergency Department.”
Having access to those specialists could mean the difference between getting a problem diagnosed or having it missed and needing to go back again when the issue doesn’t resolve.
“An ER doc can be evaluating a patient, look at their X-rays and say, ‘It’s a subtle injury; let me just make sure that orthopedics will agree with it,’” Dr. Bazzi explains. “I can open up their chart because they’re part of the DMC, I can look at the X-rays and give them sound advice on exactly what to do.”
Even if nothing additional is needed in the ER, the specialist could help the parents get scheduled for a sooner appointment in the office.
“They can get expert advice from pediatric specialists,” he says. “It really is a global team effort to take care of the injured child and that really is the difference. That’s the benefit of being at the Children’s Hospital.”
In addition to top nurses and physicians, the hospital also cares for children’s mental health and emotional well-being. Child life specialists are on hand to play with children using games, puppets or toys to help them feel comfortable or distract them from medical procedures.
“If you have a child who’s acutely injured, they’re anxious and they’re crying and they’re nervous. It takes a toll on them, no doubt,” Dr. Bazzi says. “Our new ER downtown is safari-themed. The nurses – all they do is deal with kids. A child life specialist is present in the ER who really can put a child at comfort and at ease.”
For more information on the new Children’s Hospital of Michigan Emergency Department, visit childrensdmc.org.