How to Prepare for an Emergency

Op-Ed: RSV is packing hospitals with sick kids, but it can be contained with proper policy and regulation

Every few months, I hear from someone at a different hospital who’s worried about what’s going on in their emergency department and what they can do to get the level of care and emergency response systems they need. As a parent of a child with a serious illness, and as a pediatric nurse practitioner, I’ve been to many emergency departments, and understand from the patients’ perspectives what the emergency department experience should be like. In my work, I have seen the devastating effects of shortages in the hospital system, and I know how fragile our health care system is. In this time of emergency—when there is an expectation that all of our children have access to quality health care—it’s vital that parents know what options they have for the care their loved ones need. I’ve met kids in the emergency department who needed IVs, but no one cared to give them an IV. I’ve seen families who were concerned about blood draws, but they were turned away with no explanation. And I’ve seen families whose kids needed a blood transfusion, but all that was available were platelets, which are used to rebuild blood after a blood transfusion.

The emergency department that I’ve visited at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC is no exception. I’ve seen this hospital, both as a patient and as a health care worker, and I know what I have to work with here. That’s why I think hospitals and emergency departments should develop and follow the best practices for operating in an emergency, as opposed to trying to reinvent emergency.

Because of a lack of access to health care insurance, all kids in America are at risk. And there are a lot of kids who are in the hospital because their parents can’t afford to pay their medical

Leave a Comment