Question, do you take your kid to the emergency or wait until morning when the Doctors office or walk in clinic is open? In Hamilton we can call Telehealth Ontario, talk with a registered nurse who will assess the situation and determine what would be your best course of action. Then you know if you actually need to go to the hospital or just go see a Doctor. The idea is to help reduce the number of unnecessary visits to the emergency room. This free health service has been very helpful for us. There have been many late night calls where we have been told to stay home, do this, and then take the kids to the clinic in the morning.
When your kid is sick it is nice to be able to call and talk with someone who is a professional healthcare worker and can reassure you that you are doing the right thing, or tells you to do something different or more. As a parent of young children I want those instant answers. I don’t want to take an ambulance ride in the dead of the night and have a long wait at the hospital only to be told I could have just taken him or her to the local clinic. It is very expensive to use an ambulance, but sometimes you have no options but to use one. No one likes waiting hours in the emergency room only to get treatment at about the same time as they would have it they stayed home and went to a clinic in the morning.
I say this after my daughter had a coughing attach about 10:30 last night. She had difficulty breathing and it scared the beep out of me. We monitored her for about a ½ hour. She was having painful coughing and difficulty getting air back in. We called Telehealth Ontario and waited for their call back to us. Very quickly we had someone on the line walking us through all sorts of health questions to eliminate possible problems. The lady even had us hold the phone up to our daughter so she could hear her breathing and coughing.
The end result, she had to go to the hospital right then. So we had the fire department and two ambulances show up full sirens. Of course as soon as the firemen had arrived she stopped coughing and having problems breathing so she was not in danger anymore. We arrived at the emergency room just after midnight, was given a bed at 7:15 am, saw the Doctor at 7:30, was given medicine at 7:15 and by 8 am we were on the bus home. I spent about 4 of the almost 8 hours I was there trying to get her to go to sleep. Hard to do in a waiting room. Turns out she has Croup. It can usually be treated at home, but in some cases you do need to go to the doctors or emergency room.
So as a parent you have to make a decision to stay at home or go to the hospital. What is going to be the best thing for your children? For us it was easy, she was having problems breathing and we did not know why or what to do. It is just nice to be able to get a second professional opinion at anytime to let us know if we are panicking or does our child need to go to the hospital.