Thursday, April 10, 2008

Children Hurt? Which Hospital?

I read an article today at CNN that spoke of the problem some ERs have in treating children. Whether the child's emergency is an asthma attack or a broken leg, some hospitals only have adult-sized equipment. This is a problem if a baby needs an IV or a small child needs a breathing mask.

The CNN article recommends that you decide which hospital to visit in advance of life-threatening emergencies for your children; it may make all the difference in the world (although the article does point out that you just need to get your child to ANY hospital if they only have minutes to live).

Here is a handy link to determine in advance which hospitals near you (if any) specialize in pediatrics. I know that using a peds specialty hospital has made the difference in saving my son's life when he was dying from the RSV virus.

1. Click on this link.

2. Select the "By Zip Code" search by typing in your zip code and select the "Distance from Zip Code" mileage you desire (you may need to expand your search if your first effort does not pull up a hospital--I'd recommend initially starting with a broad radius of, say, 50 miles). Click on the Search button.

3. At the next screen, select "Type of Provider" and click on "Pediatric Specialty Hospital". Then click on the Search button (if that choice is not available, you'll need to back up and enter in a broader radius of miles).

When I selected 25 miles as my Search radius, I found two children's hospitals 19 miles or less from my home. I do know that there is another hospital with a specialty wing for pediatrics in my area. I'm not sure why it didn't show up. But this website at least will help you get started reviewing your options.

Again, if your child is dying or really struggling, you just need to get him or her to the closest hospital. Period. But if you have a choice, for example, a scheduled procedure, why not do some research and find a hospital that specializes in serving the smallest amongst us!

P.S. Here is a link to a consent form to have at home for babysitters, should your children need medical attention. Nothing like preparedness to help reduce fear during difficult times. And make sure to read the CNN article, "How to Find the Best ER for Your Child," for all the terrific ideas they offer for emergencies with children.

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