When Do I Need to Go to the Emergency Department?
If you are a mom, you have probably experienced more than one hair-raising experience that has made you question, ‘Is it time to go to the emergency room?’
Being a mom of 3, I have definitely had my fair share of situations in which I wondered if I needed to bring my child to the ER or if it was something I should handle on my own. Nobody wants to pack up all their children and go to the nearest Emergency Department only to be told they just needed a bandaid and some ibuprofen.
In the heat of the moment, when emotions are high, it can be hard to make an informed decision on whether your child needs emergency care or not, so here are a few things to keep in mind to help you make the best choices when faced with whether to go to the ER or not.
If there is any chance that your child has a broken bone, internal injury, a concussion, or if they are experiencing any other obviously urgent medical need like loss of blood, then call 911 or head to the Emergency Department right away.
For lesser health issues like an earache, constipation, runny nose or other mild discomforts, you most likely do not need to go to the Emergency Department and it would be a waste of time and money to do so. Just schedule an appointment with your child’s primary care doctor.
If you are unsure if you really need to bring your child to the Emergency Department, give your child’s primary care physician a call first and ask for their opinion. There is almost always someone on call 24/7 that will call you back right away to ask you questions and help determine what your situation is.
When you are in need of medical care, it can be challenging to decide where to go. Thankfully, we have a health care resource right here in New Hampshire that offers quality care at many locations – and that’s Dartmouth-Hitchcock. For emergency situations, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, located in Lebanon, NH, is one of the only medical centers that has a Level 1 (the highest-level designation) trauma center as well as the only air ambulance service (DHART).
And for other types of care, Dartmouth-Hitchcock has 1,000 primary care and specialty providers in almost every area of medicine, all over the state. Within their system, you will find everything you need from 30 outpatient clinic locations, including clinics in Manchester, Concord, Nashua, and Keene, NH as well as in Bennington, VT. With 30 easy to get to locations throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, there is access to quality care close to home whenever you need it.
When I was 12 years old, I had a severe asthma attack on Christmas Day. I had my rescue inhaler for asthma attacks, but for some reason it didn’t work this time. I took it multiple times throughout the night, struggling to breath. By the next morning, I was having so much trouble breathing I couldn’t communicate anymore and my mom finally decided to bring me to the emergency room at a local hospital in north eastern Massachusetts.
I remember being so scared in the ER, waiting for what seemed like hours before anyone saw me or tried to help me. Eventually a doctor came in and informed me that they didn’t have anything on hand that was any different from the medication in my rescue inhaler and that i would just have to wait it out. They promised if I got any worse that they would have me airlifted to another hospital, but this wasn’t very reassuring for me. I was so exhausted from struggling to breath for almost 24 hours. I remember they gave me oxygen, but that didn’t help the inflammation or constriction of my airways. I was eventually moved out of the ER and into a room in the hospital, but it took over 48 hours before I was breathing normally again. I stayed in the hospital under observation for 6 days.
I feel that I was not given the best care while I was there, which has already made my leary of taking my own children to the ER. Thankfully, I know that I can depend on Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center now if I ever need them!
The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center always focuses on making sure their patients have only the best medical and health care experience possible. And for care focused specially on children, there is the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock that provides everything from advanced clinical care to routine wellness visits. Dartmouth-Hitchcock has great results thanks to high-quality and safety standards, so you know you can depend on them when you or your family needs medical attention.
Visit www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org to learn more and find a location nearest to you.
I partnered with the brand to write this article but every word is mine.