Stories about: emergency department

Trusting your instincts: One mom’s story

Serena with Julia and Sebastian

Serena Hadsell has no medical training. But when her 4-year-old daughter Julia got sick a few days after Christmas in 2013, something else kicked in – her mother’s intuition.

“Julia had a stomach bug and was having trouble keeping anything down,” recalls Serena. “It was very late and I was trying to go to sleep, but I got the sense that something was wrong: Her breathing wasn’t quite right.”

A frightening late-night hospital trip

Serena considered waiting out the night at home and calling their pediatrician in the morning, but she couldn’t stop watching Julia. So, despite the late hour, Serena decided to pack up the family, including 6-month-old Sebastian, and head to their local hospital. Once there, it turned out that Serena’s instincts had been right.

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Laundry pods pose serious harm to young children, study finds

Laundry packetBright colors and interesting shapes make some cleaners appealing to children. But these products can be deadly if swallowed.

A recent study, published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, says childhood exposure to the brightly colored packets jumped 17 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Researchers analyzed data from the National Poison Data System for children under age 6 and found 62,254 reported pediatric exposures to dishwasher or laundry detergents, of which over 21,00 (35.4 percent) were laundry detergent packets and approximately 15,000 (24.2 percent) were dishwasher detergent packets.

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a laundry pods soft and colorful exterior can easily be mistaken by a child as candy, toys, or a teething product and once mixed with saliva, the packets dissolve quickly and release the highly concentrated toxic liquid. If a child ingests a highly concentrated single-load liquid laundry packets, she will experience excessive vomiting, wheezing, gasping, sleepiness and difficulties breathing.

Dr. Lois Lee,  of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Emergency Department Injury Prevention Program, shares suggestions for preventing accidental poisoning.

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Patient feedback matters: A look inside the emergency department

20160310_EDbadges-3Wearing their new color-coded badges: Dr. Matthew Eisenberg, Attending Physician, Emergency Medicine; Fran Damian, Nursing Director, Patient Care Services; Jason Dupuis, Director of Admitting and Emergency Services

If your child has spent time at Boston Children’s Hospital recently, you may have received a survey in the mail or by email asking about your visit. These surveys are part of a hospital-wide initiative begun almost a year ago, to help us evaluate our patients’ experience.

“Listening to patients and families helps us do our jobs better and improve the care future patients receive,” says Dr. Sara Toomey,  medical director of Patient Experience at Boston Children’s. Toomey’s colleagues get together every month to review the surveys and share out the learnings as appropriate.

Jason Dupuis, director of Admitting and Emergency Services, has received valuable feedback about the emergency department (ED) from the surveys. “Our families are very perceptive about what’s going on. Many of their comments are spot on.” The ED recently made three improvements in response to these comments.

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Potential dangers of last-minute present shopping

The holiday season is in full swing. But even if you’re the proactive type who already has her presents bought, meal planned and cards mailed, it seems like there’s always some last-minute shopping to do. Whether you forgot to get stocking stuffers, a small something for your nephew or your best friend’s new baby, everyone has scrambled for a last-minute present at some point.

In the mad dash to grab those final trinkets, it can be tempting to pick up a toy on the fly at convenient places like the pharmacy, grocery or dollar store. Be careful:  Many of the small and inexpensive toys sold at these locations aren’t the safest. So last-minute shoppers need to pick carefully.

“Generic, off-brand toys might be cheap and easy, but poorly made toys are anything but a good deal for kids,” says Lois Lee, MD, attending physician in Boston Children’s Hospital’s Emergency Department. “Many of these types of toys may have small parts that can break off easily, creating a choking hazard or may contain potentially toxic substances in the paint or plastic.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates many, but not all, toys sold in the U.S. It’s common for off-brand toys to fly under the Commission’s radar. Unregulated toys are at a greater risk of containing choking hazards, unsafe chemicals or failing to adequately identify the appropriate age for the toy’s user. (Remember, even a safe, well-made toy for an 8-year-old can be dangerous in the hands of a toddler—like magnet building toys, for instance.)

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