Stories about: emergency department

Swallowed magnets attract negative press

Most of us remember magnet sets as toy box and classroom staples when we were growing up. Their ability to engage and teach young users about polarity, electronic currents and positive and negative reactions made them educational as well as fun—a fantastic combination for toy makers looking to market the sets to children and their parents.

But just like those of us who played with them, magnets grew up over the years.

In the later half of the 2000s, a new breed of magnet hit the shelves. Marketed as “desk toys” for adults, these small, extremely powerful earth magnets could be arranged in any number of intricate or interesting sculptures. This new take on an old favorite proved to be a hit with the public, and the desk toys began selling like hotcakes. Even though these were meant for adults, the small, shiny and incredibly powerful magnets also were enticing to young children and quickly began finding their way into the hands of toddlers.

And as any parent will tell you, what finds its way into a toddler’s hand will eventually end up in his or her mouth.

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Keeping emergency department visits anxiety-free—for children and parents

My son Zach, waiting for stitches in his chin in the Boston Children's ED. I'm not sure who was more anxious that night, him or us.

My wife and I have two, active, bouncy boys. Which means that we’ve made our share of visits to the Emergency Department here at Boston Children’s.

Twice it’s been for stitches. The first time was when my younger son, Zach, slipped in the bathtub and split his chin. The second time, his big brother, Owen, was climbing a boulder and slid down it on his face.

We don’t come to Boston Children’s just because I work here. And not because it’s the closest option for us (it isn’t). But because we know the boys will get top-notch care—it is a children’s hospital, after all.

What we didn’t realize, though, was how much more was going on during our visits to address the boys’ (and our) anxiety just as much as their lacerations.

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Paging Dr. Angry Bird: How mobile technology is improving pediatric emergency care

Lois Lee, MD, MPH
Lois Lee, MD, MPH

As a doctor in a busy pediatric Emergency Department, I’d like to personally thank the creators of Angry Birds. Not so much because I love to play it—though there is a certain satisfaction in knocking those pigs from their platforms—I’d like to thank them because the love my patient’s have for the game allows me to do my job better.

As an ED doctor I’m used seeing children who are in pain, or are very anxious about being at the hospital. When I see a child who’s in pain or scared, sometimes I ask the parents to let the child play their favorite mobile game, (almost all parents have one or two loaded on their phone or tablet.) More times than not, after a few minutes with a familiar game like Angry Birds, the child is far more relaxed, which makes it easier for me to quickly clean a wound or stitch a deep cut. It’s one of the tricks of the trade that I and several other pediatric emergency department staffers have picked up along the way.

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Children's and Project Medishare: reflections from the Emergency Department

The ER team: from left, Sarah Wingerter, MD, Stephen Monteiro, MS EMT-P, Sarita Chung, MD, Alexis Schmid, RN, Michelle Marini, RN.
The ER team: from left, Sarah Wingerter, MD, Stephen Monteiro, MS EMT-P, Sarita Chung, MD, Alexis Schmid, RN, Michelle Marini, RN.

From April 10 to 18, Children’s Hospital Boston sent a group of 26 clinicians to a field hospital in Haiti. Here, those who staffed the Emergency Department reflect on their experience.

Sarah Wingerter, MD, Division of Emergency Medicine

In retrospect it seems hard to believe we only spent 8 days in Haiti.  Each day was so intense and so replete with new experiences and powerful emotions.   I remain awestruck and humbled by the fortitude of the Haitians I met, both patients and Medishare staff members.  To know that they continue to work on putting their lives back together despite the unimaginable challenges they face has given me a new perspective on what used to seem like inconveniences in my own comfortable life.  I learned a great deal about patience, humility, and selflessness from patients and parents who waited hours in the sweltering heat—many after walking miles to reach the medical facility—for the opportunity to receive care for medical problems they had endured for months or even years.

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