Stories about: Pediatric Emergency care

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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