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January 2011

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Docs’ Advice on ER Visits and Kids’ Common Wintertime Illnesses and Injuries

©2011 HealthONE LLC

It’s one of the most important questions parents can face: is this bad enough for the emergency room? You ask yourself, “Am I neglecting my child by not visiting the ER, or am I overreacting?” Every year, one in five children requires emergency medical care. For families in Denver, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children (RMHC) has two

24/7 emergency departments — RMHC at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center and Sky Ridge Medical Center — that offer around-theclock access to board-certified pediatric emergency doctors and pediatricians caring for children and adolescents.

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But when should a parent  Have gotten into or taken medication that was either make a trip to the ER? Dr. Chris not prescribed to the child Darr, chief of emergency pediatrics at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at P/SL, recommends immediate emergency care for children who:

“A good way to know if it’s time to go to the emergency department or not is to pay attention to how or the child appears to have your child is acting,” Dr. Darr taken an excessive amount. This advises. She notes the following are includes over-the-counter reme- signs that may point to the need for dies and herbal or “natural” emergency attention: products.

 Have any bleeding that does     

not stop after applying pressure for a few minutes. Have a large or deep cut or one that affects the head, chest or abdomen. Have a large burn, especially one that involves the hands, feet, groin, chest or face. Have a severe pain that is persistent or worsening. Develop sudden neck stiffness, along with a rash and a fever. Show any confusion,

headache, numbness or dizziness after hitting their

head.  Have swallowed (or you suspect they have swallowed) common household toxins, including fertilizer, cleaners or insecticides.

 Behavior changes, like “Many of the children we see in the pediatric emergency department do not have life-threatening conditions, and many of the children’s conditions may be cared for by the child’s primary care physician,” said Dr. Sue Kirelik, a physician in the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children Emergency Department at Sky Ridge Medical Center. “In many cases, follow-up with a primary care doctor will be recommended after the child leaves the emergency department, so we work closely with primary care physicians to provide speciality care in a familiar close-to-home community hospital setting,” she added. However, both Dr. Darr and Dr. Kirelik noted there are many illness which are best cared for in the pediatric emergency department, including those outlined below.

lethargy in a normally active kid, not waking appropriately or not interacting as they usually do.

 Any signs of troubled

breathing, fast breathing or if you can see your child’s ribs or collarbone outline by skin when he or she inhales.

 Your child’s belly moves

obviously outward with every breath in.

 A fever of more than 103°F.  A fever, even a low-grade temperature, which lasts more than a week. This may be a sign of a bacterial infection.


“The smallest children can present the biggest challenges, since they can’t tell us exactly what’s wrong,” said Dr. Kirelik. To make matters worse, infants often have a harder time fighting off common viruses because their Flu and Viruses immune systems haven’t fully develMost children will weather a stom- oped. Dr. Kirelik advises a trip to the ach virus or common cold with ER for infants who: plenty of rest and fluids. However,  Are two months old or many parents become concerned and younger and have a temperature contemplate an emergency visit when of 100°F or higher. they feel that their child has more than “the bug that’s going  Infants between two and six months old with a temperaaround.” ture of 100°F or higher for more than 24 hours.

Christine Darr, MD, (left) is

the medical director for the pediatric emergency department at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. She is also the medical director for the pediatric division of CarePoint, PC, an emergency physician private practice in the Denver metro area with 30 pediatric physicians. She is a graduate of Rush Medical College School of Medicine in Chicago. She followed with a pediatric residency at the University of Chicago hospital. Dr. Darr is board certified in pediatric emergency medicine and pediatrics.

Sue Kirelik, MD, (right) is medical director of pediatric emergency services and chair of the pediatric department at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree. She is a graduate of George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. She followed with a residency in pediatrics at Children's National Medical Center, DC and a fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Children's Hospital in Oakland, CA. Dr. Kirelik is a founding member of CarePoint and is board certified in pediatric emergency medicine and pediatrics.

 Have a stiff neck.  Are dehydrated: a dry mouth, no wet diapers for 12 hours, sunken eyes or a sunken soft spot.

 Stop breathing, have blue lips or tongue or have any other signs of breathing difficulties.

First Call for Children: Free Advice for Parents When They Need It Most Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children also offers free advice to every parent in case of an emergency: the First Call for Children hotline. Staffed by experienced pediatric nurses, the hotline provides parents with a trusted source for after-hours information about high fevers, allergic reactions, burns, rashes, accidents, illnesses or any other children’s healthrelated questions. Parents can call 303.563.3300 between 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. on weekdays and 24-hours a day on weekends and holidays. The nurses can give parents peace of mind and help determine if a child

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children (RMHC) has two 24/7 emergency departments — RMHC at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center and Sky Ridge Medical Center — that offer aroundthe-clock access to board-certified pediatric emergency doctors and pediatricians caring for children and adolescents.

should be taken to the ER immediately or if it’s best to wait until the primary physician office opens. The staff at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children knows there are few things as stressful as a sick or injured child, so we strive to provide the information and care parents need to make the right decisions for the health of their little ones.

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and its family of locations in every HealthONE hospital brings trusted experience and proven care to you and your children. For information on parenting, health tips and more, visit or

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children after-hours advice line

doctor’s office is clos r u o y ed... When

First Call for Children ®

...Our nurse advice line has the answers to your after-hours questions

303.563.3300 (Out of Denver area call toll-free 1-877-647-7440)

For after-hours questions about your child’s health, there’s First Call for Children every night and every weekend and holiday:

 FREE pediatric advice and information line  Brought to you by Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, the pediatric services from HealthONE  Staffed by specially trained pediatric nurses  Based on national illnesses and injuries guidelines

For medical emergencies ALWAYS call 9-1-1 Open Mon-Fri 5:00 pm - 8:00 am | 24 hours weekends and holidays

RockyMountainHospitalForChildren .com

©2011 HealthONE LLC

Colorado Parent Insert January 2011  
Colorado Parent Insert January 2011  

Kids health magazine for parents in Denver, Colorado