Friday, August 31, 2007

Children in the ER

Here is yet another thing I can not comprehend about some people. Our ER has instiituted a new "family friendly" policy that allows children to come back to see patients. Prior to last week, if at all possible, we really stressed that children be at least 14 before coming back. I say if at all possible, because we do get patients that come in with there children and no one to watch them, so of course, the children have to come back with the patient. I have some issues with this policy. First off, there is no reason for children to be in our ER. Our hospital has a pediatric ER, the only children we get are level 1 traumas, all others go to the other ER. This being said, our ER is not child friendly. It is a big, scary place, It scares me most days. We have crazies, people with appendages hanging off, people with tubes coming out of every orifice imaginable, beeping noises everywhere, traumas and full arrests coming in through the middle of the hallway, etc. Not too mention, the ER is where sick people come. There are the worst imaginable germs, EVERYWHERE. About the only other place I can think of that might have more germs is in an ICU that keeps septic people all the time. I am all for sick people being able to see their kids and grandkids and nieces and nephews. I think that more visitors speeds the road to recovery. The ER, however, is a place where (hopefully), the patient will not be for too long. Hopefully, we will get the patient stabilized and treated and either discharged, to a room or the ICU. Then, as long as the patient is on the floor, for the most part, family members can throw a reunion if they want to, with hardly any interference from the nursing staff, esp if you share the food. I say all this because the other night while working, I had 4 different patients' family members bring in young children. When I say young, 2 of these children were less than 3 weeks old, 1 was 18 months and the other probably about 6-7 months. The children were well behaved, in fact being it was between midnight and 230 when these patients were here, most of them spent the visit sleeping. Now I understand that they were worried about their family members who were rushed into the ER by ambulance, but there is NO WAY I would even consider bringing my newborn to our ER. I didn't even take my newborn to walmart or church or anywhere else for that matter, until they were 6 weeks old and had their beginning immunizations. As for older children, well some of the images I see stick with me and give me nightmares, what about a 7 or 8 year old? I just don't think any good can come out of children being able to visit in the ER. Oh, the funny part about the 4 family members? The patients themselves are were discharged to home within 4 hours of their arrival.

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