News | Published September 19, 2012

The challenges of an emergency department visit

Natalie Morales of NBC's The Today Show recently shared her account of taking her child to the emergency department in this story. The long-and-short of it is that it's a story of a young child going to the emergency department (ED) for some stitches.

A trip to the ED is never in your plans. It's a major disruption to your day and very stressful for all involved. Taking your children to the ED adds another layer of stress as you watch them endure difficult and often painful tests, all while hoping to make them better.

It is good to mentally prepare for the ED before you get there. It is usually going to be a long stay, so try to get yourself in a good frame of find to be patient and comforting for your child. If you are outwardly stressed it will add to your child's stress as well, so do your best to be calm and supportive - at least on the outside.

To alleviate the potential stress of going to the ED - on you and your child - first ask yourself if a visit to the ED is even necessary. While a trip to the ED is sometimes obvious, there are other times when making the trip is not as clear cut. For parents who find themselves in a circumstance where they are unsure whether or not to take their child to the ED, I recommend that they call a medical professional such as a pediatrician's office, a nurse hotline, or a friend or relative with medical training. When you are in doubt, a second opinion - especially from someone who is a bit removed from the stress of having a sick child - can be helpful to get you headed in the right direction.