Patient Story: Bringing a Child to the ED

Beth Wood's daughter

When her 4-year-old daughter began having stomach pain on a Sunday evening, Beth Wood called her neighbor for advice.

“He has two girls our daughter’s age and he told us to go to the emergency room to have her seen. He added that he would bring his girls to APD as it is less intimidating and scary,” Beth said.

After kissing her 2-year-old son goodnight and saying bye to Daddy, Beth packed snacks and an activity bag in anticipation of a long evening in the Emergency Department. But Beth and her daughter were pleasantly surprised during their visit to APD’s ED.

“Upon arrival we were greeted by the nicest receptionist who came out to the waiting room, got down on my daughter’s level, and made her feel welcome with a superhero bracelet at check in,” Beth said. “We didn’t even sit down in the waiting room — the intake nurse came out immediately. She connected with my daughter about the characters on her clothing while checking her vitals and explaining, in kid’s terms, what she was doing.”

Easy conversation with explanations and next steps continued for both mother and daughter in their assigned room. “Dr. Vicky Martin was a great active listener with me, but, more importantly, she was engaging and calming with my daughter. She asked her questions in multiple ways, phasing things differently as appropriate to ensure my daughter understood what she was asking,” Beth said.

Once Dr. Martin finished her assessment, she explained there wasn’t a clear diagnosis and “she framed our conversation as co-decision making. She laid out two courses of treatment for the two most likely causes of the issues my daughter was having. We came to a mutual decision to try antibiotics and follow up with our primary care provider,” Beth said.

It was an approach that eased the worry of a mother with a sick child.

“Dr. Martin clearly told me — and wrote out for me — what I should monitor over the next few days and who I should call or where I should go if things got worse,” Beth said. “She knew any parent bringing in a sick kid was stressful and she was compassionate about giving me plan a, b, c, and d so I felt confident I could make the appropriate decisions moving forward. I was dreading a long ER visit but APD’s Emergency Department turned out to be an example of compassionate care I never expected for my daughter — and for me, too. I appreciated the approachable and calming nature of all the staff.”