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The Pediatric Emergency Department is a distinct child- and family-friendly unit within the general Emergency Department at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Children who come to the Emergency Department will be immediately triaged to assess their needs. That means that Emergency Department specialists will quickly decide how serious or severe your child’s injury or illness is and then care for him/her accordingly by treating the most serious cases first. Children with life-threatening illnesses, such as those who are not breathing, are seen first. Otherwise children are seen in the order in which they arrive.
Your child may initially be treated for pain, fever or dehydration, and then be asked to wait for further care. Or if your child has an uncomplicated injury (such as a cut or broken bone), you may be directed to a general area in the Emergency Department known as the Minor Multipurpose Area.
If you’re asked to go to the waiting room, please be patient if it feels like your wait is long; we try to see all patients as quickly as possible. If there are many patients who come to the Emergency Department and the staff is busy caring for very ill children, the wait may be an hour or longer.
Please listen for your name to be called in the waiting area. And if you think your child’s condition has changed while you wait, please tell the triage nurse. Our staff will try to make you and your child as comfortable as possible while you wait.
Your Child’s Care in the Emergency Department
When your child’s name is called, he/she will be seen by a team of pediatric nurses and doctors. Some of the staff are training to be pediatric or emergency specialists and are supervised by an attending physician, who will diagnose and treat your child. If your child needs an x-ray, blood test or to see a specialist, please know that you may have to wait. We will discuss any test results with your pediatrician to help determine the best way to manage your child’s condition.
When your child’s care is complete, we’ll give you written instructions about necessary home treatment, medications and follow-up care. In collaboration with your pediatrician, we may recommend that your child be admitted to the hospital. When a room is ready, your child will be taken to an inpatient floor. Please note that parents are welcome to visit their child at any time. There are no set visiting hours for parents on the inpatient floors.
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