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“We’re Ready When They Need Us.”

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Emily Dorosz, registered nurse and clinical program coordinator in our Emergency Medicine and Trauma Center, and Dr. Jennifer Chapman a pediatric emergency medicine physician and the director of the Children's National Hospital Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship program answer your questions about seeking care during the pandemic.

You can download a PDF of this Q&A here.

What qualifies as a health emergency?

  • There are symptoms that worry us as parents and there are emergencies. For symptoms, such as fever, cough and not eating well, it is helpful to call your clinic and speak with the nurse or physician.
  • Symptoms that qualify as an emergency are more extreme: difficulty waking; inconsolability in a young child or baby; not drinking throughout the day; being too weak to get up; rapid breathing or difficulty breathing.
  • Children get injured when they run and jump around. It is ok to havepain in an arm or a leg after falling. But if the arm or leg is swollen or looks deformed, then an x-ray is needed.
  • Toddlers run into walls and tables all the time because of how active they are. When they hit their forehead, there is usually a big goose egg knot. If your child has a big knot on their forehead but is still acting fine, it is ok to call your pediatrician and check about symptoms over the phone. Symptoms of a serious head injury include repeated vomiting, severe headache and sleepiness.


What should parents do if their child has a health emergency?

  •  Don’t delay care. Kids are kids. They get hurt. They get sick. If your child gets seriously injured or has a health emergency, please call 911, please bring them to the Emergency Department. We’re here for you!
  • If you are worried about your child, don’t delay, call your clinic to discuss next steps. If you have a health emergency, it is safer to call 911 instead of driving to the hospital.


Is it safe to visit the hospital?

  • There is a lot of anxiety in the community right now, but we are providing the same level of exceptional pediatric care and meeting the challenges that come with this pandemic. We do everything we can to keep kids and families safe so they receive the care they need, when they need it.


How can you and our community help?

  • Visit childrensnational.org/giving. When you donate to our COVID-19 Emergency Action Fund or Fund for Every Child, you support our patients’ most urgent needs, including emergency care for kids!

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