I recently got the chance to tour the Pediatric Emergency Department (ED) at Sutter’s CPMC Van Ness Campus hospital and meet with its lead physician, Vincent Tamariz, M.D. Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, the ED is your go-to location for all kinds of medical emergencies. Although I hope my three-year-old never has a reason to visit, I know she’ll be in great hands if it ever happens. I hope the same for your children! But as we all know, kids tend to pick up viruses and some are just accident-prone. Here are a few things to know if you ever have to bring your little ones into the ED here in the City.
The Pediatric Emergency Department’s Entrance is on Franklin
If you’re programmed like me to head straight for CPMC’s old (now closed) Laurel Village location, don’t forget that the hospital’s new address is 1101 Van Ness, where next month, it will celebrate its one-year anniversary.
To enter the hospital’s ED, go in the doors on 1260 Franklin between Post and Geary. If you google CPMC, your directions will take you to the hospital’s main entrance on Van Ness, but you will save time heading right to Franklin and entering there.
Child-Friendly Waiting Room
After checking in, you’ll be directed to a waiting room just for kids and families. Full of toys and books, the waiting room felt like a comforting place for a child. EDs can get pretty scary so I really appreciated knowing that my child would be surrounded in an interactive and soothing environment if she ever needed to come in.
When Dr. Tamariz told me that the average waiting time before being examined is just five minutes, I was very surprised. There have been times that my daughter has a fever or an injury and I’m unsure whether I should bring her to the ED. I often consider whether a visit would be worth spending a long and exhausting time in the waiting room. Now I feel like if I’m in doubt, I can just go in. That is really comforting for me as a parent.
Dr. Tamariz assured me that emergency staff would much rather you come on in if you’re unsure of whether it’s an emergency. He also pointed out that when in doubt, parents can call the ED to assess an illness or injury and get advice about whether they should come in.
Experienced Pediatric Staff
As we know, children are different from adults and have a unique set of needs. Any doctor or nurse might be able to tend to a child’s wound, but it takes a special professional to calm his worries and make him feel safe. I clearly remember how the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurses at CPMC were able to draw blood from my newborn without a single cry. I could not believe it.
The entire staff at CPMC’s Pediatric ED specializes in treating children. There are no students or interns either–these board-certified doctors and nurses have had years of experience to perfect their approach.
CPMC also has certified Child Life Specialists on hand who meet with families as soon as they arrive at the ED. These pediatric healthcare professionals work with children and families to help them cope with the hospital. Child Life Specialists prepare kids and their parents and answer any questions they have along the way. Child Life staff uses props like dolls and teddy bears and child-friendly medical equipment to help kids act out scenarios and procedures as well as talk through their fears and feelings.
CPMC’s Pediatric ED is fully equipped with child-sized tools such as blood-pressure cuffs or injection needles. They also have a range of sizes because kids vary in size throughout childhood.
This is major. I once brought my daughter to emergency and there were certain tests they were unable to perform because they did not have the right-sized equipment. Tools scaled down to fit your child also means that procedures remain as comfortable as possible.
Posey the Therapy Dog
Dr. Tamariz has a therapy dog named Posey who comes to work with him daily. We have met Posey before, and she is as sweet as ever. Posey visits children in the ED and is especially good at calming little ones as they have blood drawn.
I hope none of us ever have to use the Pediatric ED, but boy is it comforting to know what great care our kids will get if they do.