EXPERT CARE FOR CHILDREN’S EMERGENCIES — BIG AND SMALL
While it’s not the main entrance, emergency departments often are described as a hospital’s “front door” by those who take care of patients. And in August 2016, University Hospital opened a new front door for children.
University Hospital’s Children’s Emergency Department quickly established itself as a place for children with any kind of medical emergency — from worrisome middle-of-the-night fevers, to the kinds of urgent problems that can develop quickly in children with complex or chronic medical conditions.
University Children’s ED is staffed by board-certified emergency medicine physicians and pediatric emergency medicine physicians. And it has a wide range of UT Health San Antonio pediatric subspecialists available around the clock to provide continuity of care for children with chronic or ongoing medical conditions such as asthma, cancer or congenital heart defects, or to offer expert guidance when a serious problem is diagnosed.
University Children’s Emergency Department’s biggest strength is that it is part of an academic program with a commitment to evidence-based medicine, said Dr. Daniel J. Dire, founding medical director of the Children’s ED and clinical professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at UT Health San Antonio.
“We try to stay on the cutting edge of what’s going on in our specialty,” Dr. Dire said. In addition, the region’s only Level I pediatric trauma center and burn program is located just steps away in case a minor injury or burn turns out to be a bigger problem.
As a new emergency department, University Children’s ED is equipped with plenty of state-of-the-art technology, including bedside ultrasound, GlideScope video laryngoscopes that provide real-time views of the patient’s airway, and large-screen monitors in rooms to display those airway procedures, as well as vital signs, electronic medical records and radiology images.
Dr. Dire, a major general and flight surgeon in the U.S. Army Reserve, assembled a team that is skilled in providing fast and expert care to kids.
“The pediatric emergency physicians are all trained and credentialed in pediatric moderate and deep sedation,” Dr. Dire said. “We can sedate kids down here for fracture reductions and other procedures that ordinarily might have to go to the operating room in another facility.”
Because of the connection to an array of pediatric subspecialists from UT Health, University Children’s ED tends to see patients with a higher level of acuity than other children’s ERs, Dr. Dire said. Families of kids with chronic or complex illnesses are directed to go there if and when urgent problems develop.