That’s because children often have quite different symptoms than adults. A high fever, stomachache or other mysterious aches and pains that would not to appear be serious in an adult can, in fact, be dire for children. When in doubt, it’s always best to let the experts decide. And no one knows more about babies, kids and teens than the pediatric professionals at CHOC.
We sat down with James Pierog, M.D., medical director of CHOC emergency medical services, to find out what else parents should know about CHOC’s emergency department.
Q. Okay, so how do I know if I should take my child to the emergency department?
Dr. Pierog: Always trust your gut. We treat a variety of ailments, big and small, from broken bones and small abrasions, to fevers and headaches. No matter is too small, and no patient is turned away. Even if your child does not need treatment, you’ll leave our emergency department with reassurance and education.
Dr. Pierog: It is the only emergency department in Orange County that has been designed, equipped and staffed with an all-pediatric focus. Children are not miniature adults, and it’s not simply a matter of ordering smaller blood pressure cuffs. Children and teens are physiologically different than adults. Our pediatric physicians, nurses and staff members know how to treat their unique medical needs.
We also offer services you won’t find at regular hospitals, like child life specialists. These trained child development professionals are experts at providing comfort to patients and families. They can help explain procedures or ailments in a way that is easy for children – and their parents — to understand. They also provide distractions to help alleviate pain, minimize anxiety or pass the time.
Q. Can I stay with my child?
Dr. Pierog: Absolutely. In fact, our exam rooms are larger to accommodate family members, including younger siblings and their strollers. A parent’s presence is the best coping mechanism around, and siblings also have a role in treatment and healing. Just keep in mind that a visit may take awhile, and small children may grow inpatient.
Dr. Pierog: Our emergency department is designed for fast triage, rapid diagnosis and speedy treatment to streamline each visit. Still, it is hard to estimate how long a visit will take. It will depend on the type and severity of your child’s ailment, as well as other patients visiting the ED that day. We usually see patients in order of their arrival, but children with serious illnesses or injuries may be seen first.
Q. I have an HMO: Do I need to get approval before coming to CHOC?
Dr. Pierog: CHOC does not require approval from a patient’s healthcare provider to offer care at the Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department. However, you should check with your provider for more details regarding coverage specifics.
What To Bring With You
• Diapers, formula and other baby supplies
• A list of any medications your child takes
• Referral paperwork, X-rays or lab results, if available
• Blanket, stuffed animal, favorite toy or other comfort item
• Cell phone and charger, or change for the pay phone.
Learn more about the Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department at CHOC Hospital.