Did you know that if your child has a medical emergency, there is a dedicated pediatric emergency room right here in Augusta?
That’s right. Since 1998, the Children’s Hospital of Georgia Emergency Department has provided rapid emergency care to children of all ages and stages – from bruises and broken bones to appendicitis and traumatic injuries.
The CHOG Emergency Department serves children and families within a 150-mile radius of Augusta, including places northwest toward Atlanta and into South Carolina, as well as southeast Georgia. The number of children cared for annually has grown from about 13,000 in the late 1990s to more than 30,000 today, with anywhere from 50 to 90 kids treated daily.
PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY medicine is a relatively young but very active subspecialty nationally. Most of our faculty have been in the field since the early ’90s, and serve as members and leaders in local, state and national organizations involved in the safety and care of children, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics. Pediatric emergency medicine physicians train about two to three years more than those in general emergency medicine or general pediatrics, which better prepares them to provide care for the sickest of the sick, injured or ill children. We take care of kids from their first week of life up to their 18th birthday, and occasionally into their 20s.
In addition, we offer:
• a child-friendly environment designed exclusively for children with comfort, safety and pain control in mind;
• a neonatal transport team;
• a pediatric transport team;
• child life specialists to help children understand and cope with treatment;
• close coordination with our pediatric intensive care unit and inpatient intensivists;
• fast, easy access to pediatric pulmonologists, cardiologists, surgeons and other pediatric specialists;
• patient- and family-centered care – in which we encourage families to be present for procedures, resuscitation and other emergency treatment needs their children have;
• pediatric emergency physicians who can provide support and advice to EMS for patients who need intervention during transport;
• pediatric nurses with Pediatric Advanced Life Support certifications;
• the area’s only pediatric trauma unit with a staff trained to care for traumatic injuries in children, and to coordinate care requiring immediate surgical interventions
PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY medicine physicians have to be knowledgeable and adaptable to the physiological, developmental, behavioral and epidemiological changes that occur during childhood. We are uniquely prepared to deal with these changes because of our extensive training. In the 2014 Pediatric Readiness Assessment Survey, the CHOG ED scored 89 – higher than both the Georgia (82) and national (84) averages.
The Augusta area is fortunate to have the Children’s Hospital of Georgia Emergency Department. Our staff provides expertise and peace of mind to families during some of their most trying moments. I am extremely proud of the caliber of care we provide and of the caring attitude we have for those who come through our doors.
We recently completed our first renovation in 15 years, expanding from a 13- to a 16-bed unit, allowing us to see more patients rapidly. Plus, each room is uniquely designed to be child-friendly with night lights, vivid colors and a safe and comfortable environment for the family. In addition, we are now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We invite you to join us for an open house from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 20. We hope you won’t need us anytime soon, but we invite you to see who and where we are – just in case you do.
(The writer is medical director of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia Emergency Department; and an associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine in the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.)