My family has been very lucky healthwise, except for about a week and half ago, when I had to rush my oldest child to the emergency room. I don’t often get too personal (I’m a product blogger), but in hopes of making things easier for other parents, I’m going to share.
But before I do, do you have a plan of action if your child needs to go to the emergency room? Do you know if there’s a pediatric ER close to your house? What will you do if you have other kids? Is there a neighbor that can help out in a pinch? What can you do to make this scary time a little smoother?
R Baby Foundation has some great info to help. Their purpose is to organize and fund efforts to improve the outcomes of medical care for infants, particularly those who contract certain viral infections within the first month of life. You can still use their practical and thorough information for older children too.
R Baby Foundation was founded after Phyllis and Andrew Rabinowitz lost their newborn daughter because she contracted an enteroviral infection that can be life threatening in babies. If her symptoms had been treated, she may still been here today. So heartbreaking to hear. The R Baby Foundation is dedicated to “helping newborn babies, primarily those less than a month old suffering from viral infections and other infectious diseases, receive the highest quality of care and service through supporting education, research, training and life-saving equipment.”
Rebecca Levey of Beccarama has some great information and facts about emergency rooms and R Baby Foundation on her site.
Go to their fantastic resource page for articles and tips on
- What You Need to Know about Emergency Rooms – Not all ER’s are the same (links to a PDF download)
- What to Expect When you Arrive at an Emergency Room with a Your Baby (links to a PDF download)
- Items and Information To Have on Hand when you go the ER (links to a PDF download)
I would look at this info now, rather when you are en route to the emergency room and may not be thinking clearly. And as one of my friends, Suzanne Chan, RN, told me, you have the right to ask that the ambulance takes your child to any hospital you want (within a 50 mile radius).
Around 1:30 on April 5th, I got a call that my 6 1/2 year old, Ben, passed out/had a seizure at school. Yes, the words “had a seizure” were said to me. I froze for a second, quickly put the baby in the stroller, put away my salad (which I didn’t get to eat yet). I figured I’d just take Ben home and wasn’t sure if he’d feel up to walking, so I grabbed the add on seat to my stroller. When I got to the school and to the nurse’s office, 5 staff members surrounded my child. Honestly, it was a blur and I made the school nurse write a note so I could show it to the staff in the emergency room. She said he came in for a tiny cut and then passed out. Right before he passed out, he was stiff and staring (which is a seizure symptom). He was unconscious for around 10 seconds.
Luckily he was in the nurse’s office already. I got there pretty quickly, but wasn’t prepared that it was so serious. I didn’t have my health insurance card on me (my husband had borrowed it and left it on my vanity). The school offered to call an ambulance, but I declined it, I didn’t want Ben going to the local hospital (plus I had the baby with me). And I knew I wanted Cohen’s Children’s Hospital at Long Island Jewish Hospital in New Hyde Park, Long Island (a 20 minute car ride). I knew they had a pediatric ER, since we had taken Ben there when he was 2 1/2 (when his arm popped out of the socket).
I quickly phoned my father in law, sent him to pick up my 4 year old daughter, and then I took Ben home, got a few things and then dropped the baby at my in law’s house and took Ben to the Emergency Room. He seemed fine, but pale and I didn’t want to take a chance. I called my pediatrician on the way and my sister in law, who’s a doctor. She called Cohen’s to let them know we were coming. I guess the layout had changed, because I ended up walking with Ben all the way around the hospital to get to the emergency room (helloo — why was it so hard to find???). I couldn’t imagine running down the halls with a sick baby in my arms. Ben luckily was able to walk by himself. He’s 40 pounds now, I couldn’t have carried him.
We waited, even though my sister in law said we should have been seen immediately (because of the seizure), and after around a 1/2 hour, we were brought into a room. Luckily my sister in law came and found us and then my husband and father in law arrived. Ben got an EKG and a CBC (if you remember your terms from the old show ER, it’s when they take blood, but they put the tube in and then take what they need). He had to keep that in for an hour. My husband had to hold him down, poor kid freaked. Luckily, there was this great service called Child Life – there were two people who came around with iPads to distract my son while they were putting the port in his arm.
We got to go home after about an hour in the exam room, they said he fainted and said it was a vesovegal reaction (but they still didn’t know why he was stiff and staring). We went for a follow up MRI four days later and the doctor said Ben is fine. We’re hoping that this was just an isolated incident. I followed up with the school’s nurse today and asked her to put his neurologist’s name in his file and to take him straight to the ER (Children’s if possible) next time (which we hope there isn’t a next time).
As I went into that ER, I saw babies on exam beds and scared kids and parents. Our son walked out of there, so I considered us lucky.
Disclosure: I am a R Baby Mom Ambassador. I am not compensated for this, but will be attending their gala on May 9th, underwritten by a sponsor. I am proud to support this foundation.