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Acute Care Reminder

Every so often, it seems like a good idea to review some of our recommendations about where to seek care in urgent situations. These recommendations may seem inconvenient or  unnecessary, but we believe there are good reasons for them.

Our recommendation for all patients, which was discussed with you at the time you decided to join our practice, is that they be seen at either Children’s Hospital or at Massachusetts General
Hospital for all emergency care when possible. (For life-threatening situations where a 911 call is needed, you will be transported to the nearest available emergency department. In those
situations, after the patient is stabilized we ask that the treating physician contact our provider on call.) Our reasoning for this is simple – we want our patients to get the very best possible care.
Too often when our patients have been seen at a local emergency department or urgent care clinic, they have received care that we would not have recommended. Hospitals that do not
specialize in the care of children may select tests or treatments that are more appropriate for adults, and (as any pediatrician will tell you) children aren’t small adults. They need care tailored to the different ways that their bodies work and move. If a specialist is needed, it should be one who has been trained specifically to treat children; pediatric specialists are rarely available at local urgent care clinics and emergency departments. Finally, providers who do not specialize in pediatric medicine may not be aware of the current standards of care for children, and may prescribe treatments that have been shown to be ineffective or even harmful.

In addition, if your child is seen at an outside emergency department or urgent care clinic, we are unable to be part of the medical decision-making. It makes it harder for us to maintain the physician-patient relationship that is so important if providers outside our practice are making treatment plans without our consultation and without access to our records. We have a trusted relationship with many of the providers at Children’s Hospital and Mass General, and can coordinate patient care with them. This close working relationship is absent when your child is seen elsewhere.

We understand that taking your child into Boston in an urgent situation is not always the easiest option. However, we truly believe that it is the best one. If you have specific questions or concerns about these recommendations, we hope you will contact them with your child’s provider, so we can have a shared understanding of how to deliver the best possible care.