Is Your Child at Risk for Medical Errors in Your Local Emergency Room?

Is Your Child at Risk for Medical Errors in Your Local Emergency Room?

Although 20% of visits to the emergency room are ill and injured children, only 6% of hospitals have the appropriate equipment, medications and supplies to properly care for children. Of course, all medical conditions that are life threatening should be treated in an emergency room. But, for those illnesses and injuries involving children that are not life threatening, it is wise for parents to know the locations and credentials of non-hospital pediatric emergency care facilities in the Houston area.

The doctors and the team of medical professionals at Ascent Emergency Medical Center, located near you in Houston, Texas, want to educate parents on the search and the vetting processes of locating an emergency care facility specializing in the treatment of children.

Preparation is the Best Plan

Most of the time, parents do not have a choice of where their children receive emergency care. But, it is wise to learn of private emergency facilities near your home and your child’s school, camp and sport venues for the choices to be researched and known.

Parents need to learn whether the local hospital or an emergency care facility has the specialists and staff with the appropriate training to administer emergency care to children.

A health advisor can help with the search and the vetting processes. The health advisor will also be able to quickly connect you with physicians, hospitals and emergency facilities when you and family members are traveling.

The Questions Parents Should Ask

Below are three important and all-encompassing questions parents need to ask during the vetting process.

  • Does this Facility have Board-Certified Pediatric Emergency Medical Specialists on Staff or On Call?

A survey by the National Pediatric Readiness Project found that 15% of doctors treating pediatric patients in emergency rooms were trained in pediatric emergency medicine. Doctors in this sub-specialty have six years of post-graduate training and residencies in both pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine.

  • How Many Children Does the Facility Treat Each Day?

Studies have found that the more children treated by a facility, the more the staff is trained and experienced in administering the appropriate care to children. There are distinct differences in treating children than in treating adults.

A child’s growth plates will make an x-ray harder to read. The vital signs of children have a different range of normal than an adult. There are conditions, while not considered serious for an adult, are considered serious for a child.

  • Does the Facility Have Pediatric Equipment and Drug-Dosing Protocols?

The appropriate dosages for children are dependent on their weight. The emergency medical staff needs to be aware of the protocols in the calculations of the proper dosages for a child.

Many technologies and supplies geared to adults, such as a CT scan and IV needles, can pose unnecessary risks to children.

An obvious determining factor is the facility having a separate waiting room or area specifically for children to alleviate any fear and anxiety. Many emergency care facilities specializing in pediatric emergency medicine will allow parents to remain with their children during both the exam and the treatment.

The medical staff at Ascent Emergency Medical Center, located in Houston, Texas, are trained in administering emergency medicine to children. The healthcare professionals at Ascent recognize that, by educating parents on the basic knowledge of pediatric emergency medicine, informed decisions will be made regarding the necessary medical care for their children.

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