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Should we, yes or no, go to the emergency room? How are you going to go there? The answers of Dr. Patrick Pelloux, emergency doctor, author of "Emergencies ... If you knew, Chronicle of Samu".
How do you know if you really need to go to emergencies?
- When the pediatrician or the general practitioner goes to the emergency room, the parents do not ask any questions, they go for it. But when they have not been able to consult and be advised, as often on vacation, far from the usual medical centers, they wonder. "Is it necessary?", "If it is, it's three times nothing ..." Yet they must go there without hesitation when they have a doubt about the importance of the problem. Even if the wound does not look bad at first, but their child seems to be hurting, you have to go because the pain is an emergency.
What if I disturb the service for nothing?
- The families were overly guilty with the problem of the overcrowding of emergencies. Let's first assume that it is too silly to miss a real worry because you did not dare to disturb.
- That parents are reassured, the cases are quickly classified according to their importance as soon as they call the 15 by telephone. Then, on the spot, the child is looked for to be taken care of in a suitable way. The service is organized to deal with problems of varying intensity and no one disturbs anyone.
On the spot, what is the best attitude to adopt?
- Staying calm, whenever possible, is ideal. Although the wait seems long and difficult to bear with children who are agitated and apparently do not seem supported. In fact, the whole team organizes behind the scenes and discusses the cases of all the little patients who arrive. So there is no dead time or disorganization, contrary to appearances. Being aware of this allows parents to be patient.
- Nevertheless, it is not a question of staying in one's corner without daring to move. For example, if the child's condition is not good and he is in pain, the accompanying adult should remind the caregiver of the problem to a passing nurse. Once again, do not be afraid to embarrass doctors.
Emergencies, is this really the best place for my child to be treated well?
- To make a diagnosis, treat and relieve quickly, no doubt. It is even the vocation of this service. Parents' fears may be fueled by old practices that are out of date today.
- Emergency medicine has made tremendous progress in a generation, especially in the pediatric field. In the past, when I started my training, only trainees were sent to this department. The young people had to fend for themselves. Today, even though parents feel that they often have to deal with interns, they must know that pediatricians supervise them and are always there.
- Another achievement of great importance: the treatment of pain in children. A few years ago, it was considered unnecessary to anesthetize before suturing a wound, for example. It was also thought that analgesics might mask a problem. This seems absurd today and, fortunately, our priority is to relieve suffering children. And we get there!
Behind the scenes of emergencies
Only a small part of the service is visible in the emergency room. You can explain to your child, during waiting times, that when he sees a doctor, nine others work in the service. Some are at rest, others arrive to take over. Same thing for nurses who provide a lot of care. Technicians also carry drugs, bandages, oxygen ... There is a rest room where staff can take breaks between two patients. It's like in the theater: the child is a little spectator and does not see what is happening behind the scenes, but behind the curtain, it's a sacred organization!
Interviewed by Sophie Viguier-Vinson
To read also: Emergencies, when to go?
Dr. Patrick Pelloux is the author of Emergencies ... If you only knew. Chronicle of Samu, ed. Seeking Midi.