The Trauma Service at Children's Hospital provides complete care to pediatric trauma victims of all ages. Timely access to specialized care is often a matter of life and death in trauma situations, particularly when they involve children.
Teams of experts in pediatric trauma care, including pediatric surgeons, emergency medicine doctors, intensivists, nurses, and child and family life specialists mobilize rapidly once alerted that a child victim of trauma is on the way to the Emergency Department. In most cases, the team is in place and waiting in the trauma bay prior to the child's arrival and is able to relay instructions to the emergency response team or to the referring physician.
Thanks to the commitment and hard work of multiple departments and services, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt has sought and achieved Level I Trauma verification from the American College of Surgeons. Children's Hospital is one of only a few in the United States to earn this designation. This means we provide the highest level of pediatric trauma care, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
What happens when my child enters the hospital?
Upon arriving at the Emergency Department, your child will immediately encounter a highly trained team of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, and EMTs. This team's main focus is to stabilize your child and identify any injuries.
Based on the findings, your child may require further testing, such as a chest X-ray, CT scan, and lab work (blood/urine). The CT is a state-of-the-art scanner that images the entire body to identify any internal injuries. Pediatric radiologists evaluate these scans.
Depending on the identified injuries, other pediatric specialists may be consulted including orthopedics, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, and many other medical/surgical specialists.
What determines where my child goes next?
Based on the severity of the injury and the level of care your child requires, he or she may be treated and released from the Emergency Room, taken to the operating room for surgery, or admitted to the inpatient area, including the Pediatric Critical Care Unit (PCCU) or the trauma surgery floor. While admitted to the hospital, a multi-disciplinary team will follow your child's progress and care for any needs that may arise.
After you leave the hospital
Some children may require inpatient rehabilitation after a hospital stay. The trauma team and other pediatric specialists will evaluate your child throughout their stay and help make appropriate arrangements to meet his or her needs, including for recovery. The trauma team works very hard to ensure the transition from hospital to rehab or to home is as smooth as possible.
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