What To Expect
Pediatric Emergency Medicine
NOTE: In a life-threatening emergency, you will be taken immediately to a treatment room, bypassing registration.
You will enter the emergency department through a quick security checkpoint. At the registration desk, you will spend just a few minutes providing basic information. You can ask for assistance at the Guest Services desk in the waiting area.
Once registered, a nurse will ask about your child’s symptoms, medications, and allergies, and take vital signs in order to assign a treatment level. The more acute the condition, the faster your child will be evaluated. The nurse may also administer Tylenol or Motrim, and if a blood draw or IV is necessary, the nurse will place a numbing cream on your child's arm in preparation.
In the Treatment Room
In the treatment room, the nurse may check vital signs again, and then your child will be seen by one of our physicians. A thorough physical will follow and any treatments or necessary tests are discussed. Please note:
- Lab tests take 60-90 minutes to process
- X-rays, ultrasound, and cat scans range from 15 minutes to several hours
Medications are administered by nurses, who will also draw blood for lab tests, collect urine, or start an IV. When tests results are returned, the physician will discuss next steps. At this time, your child may require a consultation from one of the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital specialists or additional tests.
If your child is discharged, the nurse will go over the diagnosis, explain medications, and discuss follow-up care. Prescriptions can be faxed to your pharmacy so they are ready for pickup.
If your child is admitted, the physician will call Packard Children’s admitting doctors to transfer care. The admitting doctor will either come to the emergency department or connect with you after admission.
We have two admitting facilities:
- Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (next to Stanford Hospital)
- El Camino Hospital (10 miles south)
Both offer a wide variety of services. The physician will discuss the most appropriate facility. If your child is admitted to El Camino Hospital, we will arrange transfer. On occasion, a child may require services at another facility, such as Valley Medical Center in San Jose.
After Your Visit
Follow-up care is very important. If you have a private pediatrician, we will fax them information about your visit. If a referral is needed for a specialty clinic, we will send the information the next day to Packard Children’s Patient Referral Center.
Emergency Department Call Back Nurses are available every day from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. to answer questions at 650-723-4411. They may also call you to see how your child is doing and help with any unanswered questions.
The Social Work and Case Management Department responds to referrals for inpatient and clinic patients at Stanford Hospital and clinics. Case Managers assist with discharge planning and insurance issues. Social Workers focus on short-term counseling and community resources.
iPads are available on loan to visitors in patient rooms to stream movies, video conference with healthcare professionals, or surf the internet.