January 20, 2021
Mom, Laurajean, joins HealthU for a Q&A about her recent experience in the pediatric emergency room during the COVID-19 pandemic. She encourages other parents and guardians not to wait if their child needs care.
HealthU: Tell us about your journey.
Laurajean: I have two little girls born at Hackensack [University Medical Center], and this was my first trip to the pediatric emergency room. In November, as I was getting the girls ready for school, my two-year-old child climbed up on her five-year-old sister’s bunkbed to wake her up, which turned into a cuddle session. For some reason, my little one threw her leg over the railing and fell out of the top bunk. She was face down on her floor and she tried to stand up to walk, but she staggered into my arms. From there she was sleepy and not herself. As I was dressing her to leave the house, she started vomiting and was weak. Normally, my little wild child is climbing, jumping and disappearing around the house, but she went from cuddling to on the floor in an instant.
When she first fell, I thought I could take her to her pediatrician to avoid the hospital. I took her to the office, but she continued to vomit so I took her straight from the pediatrician to the hospital. I knew she needed to be checked out for a potential head injury. Considering COVID-19 cases were on the rise, the hospital was scary, but going was 100% the right thing. I was nervous about bringing her to the hospital, but once I walked in, the staff moved us through the check-in process quickly and into a room with the world’s best nurse.
HealthU: What was your biggest concern?
Laurajean: My daughter was great about wearing her mask, but it fell off when she fell asleep, and I needed to take her across the hospital for a second CAT scan. I was fearful of her catching COVID-19, but they helped ease that fear by providing transport which allowed me to sit and hold her while she slept, rather than walk across the hospital. I laid with her and put a blanket over us while they wheeled us to the room. From there, they worked as quickly as possible to get us into the testing room and back to our room. Everyone that entered the room washed their hands upon entering and leaving the room, and everyone (patients, doctors, nurses, etc.) I saw was wearing a mask.
HealthU: What was the outcome and/or diagnosis of your visit?
Laurajean: In the end, we walked out of the hospital the same day we entered. My daughter moved slightly in the first CAT scan and a second was needed to rule out a blood clot. While it was scary to continue with tests, their thoroughness reassured me they were doing everything they could to make sure she was OK. When the second test came back clear, I felt such relief to walk out of that hospital knowing they checked her out and gave her their full attention.
HealthU: What do you want other parents to know?
Laurajean: The nurses and staff want you as safe as possible and treat your child with the utmost care. They are highly aware of the pandemic, and some things have changed, but the care from the doctors and nurses was not one of those things. While they cannot hug you when you are in tears, they are there to take you through all of the information presented and show you how much they care for you and your child. My daughter walked out with multiple cookies stuffed in her mouth from the nurse. She is in no rush to go back on the top bunk and now plays doctor often.
Next Steps & Resources:
- To make an appointment with a pediatrician or pediatric specialist near you, call 800-822-8905or visit our website.
- Flu or COVID-19? How to Tell the Difference in Kids
- Kids and COVID-19: Here’s What We Know
- Seeing a Pediatrician During COVID-19: Cooper’s Story
- Should I Take My Child to the Pediatrician During the Pandemic?
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.