Emergency Medical Care for Children

Armen Hareyan's picture

"Children are not small adults," states Dr. Mary Christine Bailey, Medical Director of Newton Wellesley Hospital's new Pediatric Emergency Department. "Children have a unique physiology", explains Dr. Bailey. "They respond differently to trauma, medications and clinical interventions." Bailey, who is also a Board Certified Pediatrician, has undergone fellowship training to become Sub-boarded in Pediatric Emergency Medicine. She is one of three such specialists staffing this new and unique community hospital emergency department specifically designed for infants, children and adolescents.


Any parent, who has rushed their child to an emergency room, can testify that children's needs go far beyond the physical in their experience of an acute illness or traumatic injury. A child's age, size and stage of physical, emotional and intellectual development plays a major role in their responses to every experience, especially a crisis. Surprisingly, widespread recognition of the unique emergency medical needs of children is relatively new. In the early 1980s, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) among other professional groups and organizations, began to actively address both the emergency health care needs of children and ways to create services which would better meet these needs. In 1981, the AAP founded a special section of its organization on Emergency Medicine with the purpose of..." providing a forum for the discussion of problems relating to the treatment and care of pediatric cases in the emergency department" and a mission "to sustain, develop and promote the delivery of optimal emergency care for acutely ill and injured children and adolescents."

Optimal Emergency Care for Children

Newton-Wellesley's Pediatric Emergency Department serves as a good example of recommendations for optimal pediatric emergency care put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Pediatric Emergency Department, a division of the Hospital's general Emergency Department, is open from noon to midnight, the peak hours for children's medical emergencies. Pediatric Emergency Medicine specialists, who understand and are trained in the unique physiologic and psychosocial needs of children, staff the department.

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