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May 16, 2011 / mommylok

An unnecessary visit to the ER

In the beginning of April, I published a Wordless Wednesday post showing a photo of my youngest son (2 yrs old) waiting in the ER.  I wanted to share the rest of the horrifying experience so that should you ever find yourself in a similar situation (hopefully not!), the same mistakes are not made.

During an evening out with some other families in early April, R had an accident which prompted a trip to the ER.  My husband rushed him there while I nerve-wreckingly stayed back to watch my other two children.  A few hours and 2 staples in the head later, we were all ready to go home.  It was an exhausting evening for everyone, including the other families that stayed up late with me for support.

We were instructed to remove the staples in 10 days.  So 10 days from our first ER visit, I went back to our local hospital (my pediatrician does not perform that procedure in his office).  The nurse who saw my son had to remove a big scab that formed over the wound in order to remove the staples.  She surprisingly said after the scab was removed that there were no staples and that they must have fallen out.  I was baffled because neither my husband or I noticed them anywhere.  The nurse gave me some Bacitracin and sent R and me home.

Three days after the last ER visit, my husband and I noticed that the wound wasn’t healing well and that it was beginning to open up again.  It also started oozing a little bit of pus.  We took R to the pediatrician the next day and not even a glance later, the doctor said his wound is definitely infected.  Our pediatrician gave us some cleaning instructions, prescribed antibiotics and told us to come back in 3-4 days for a follow-up.

At the follow-up appointment, one week after our 2nd ER visit, the doctor asked me what I thought of the wound.  Not knowing any better, I said it looks much better and that it seemed like the antibiotics were working.  Then he gave me his opinion.  He said his instinct is that the wound still isn’t healing the way it’s supposed to be.  If I wanted, we could wait a couple more days and then see how the wound is then.  When I mentioned that I would be going away on vacation for 4 days, he told me “Then let’s not take any chances.  Go to the ER and make sure you don’t leave until you see both the Attending Doctor and Surgeon.”  This wasn’t what I was expecting.  Far from it.

I couldn’t even tell you what was going on in my mind – I don’t even think I knew.  One thing’s for sure – I didn’t think I’d be back in the ER.  I have to say though, that I am lucky that our pediatrician is the Chair of Pediatrics at the hospital I went to; he called in to the Pediatric ER and made sure the Attending Doctor saw us.

The first thing the A.D. said was we better take an x-ray just to rule out if the staples were still in the head.  Say what? Staples in the head? Is that still possible??  The nurse looked 2 weeks ago and they weren’t there!  So we all thought…

To summarize:  we took x-rays, staples were indeed still in the head (the skin healed over the staples, concealing them) and the surgeon removed them without needing to go to the OR (thankfully) – but please don’t ask me for details.  I didn’t look.

The whole experience was pretty horrifying and I’m going to do you all a favor and NOT post photos of what the wound looked like at its worst.  I don’t know if there was anything I could have done or asked to have prevented the 3rd (and last) visit to the ER, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it.  I just don’t have the energy to do it.  I do hope, however, that if you ever find yourself in the ER, you’ll remember my story and be sure to double and triple check to make sure everything is ok before getting discharged.  To leave things on a good note, after the staples were removed, the wound healed at an amazingly quick pace and less than 2 days later, you never would have known there was an open laceration with surgical staples in the head.



Leave a Comment
  1. Suzanne / May 16 2011 8:34 PM

    Yikes! So sorry that happened to you! It’s always so hard when your child is in the hospital. You have a good doctor there!

    • mommylok / May 16 2011 8:42 PM

      Thanks, Suzanne! There are many times that I don’t agree with my doctor but in this instance, I am GRATEFUL that his years of experience provided me with the best advice. If we never went back to the ER that 3rd time (though my gripe here is that we never should have been put in that position!), R’s wound would have gotten infected over and over again.

  2. Maria A / May 16 2011 11:04 PM

    Thank goodness you found out! Poor boy, he’s been through so much.

  3. Nikki @ Euphoria Luv / May 17 2011 2:25 AM

    Oh goodness. It’s not easy getting full and proper medical care. Good thing you have good communication with your doctor.

  4. KC / May 18 2011 9:09 AM

    OMG…poor R!!! what a story though. hope he is better now.

  5. mommylok / May 18 2011 10:27 AM

    Thanks, everyone! R is definitely doing better and doesn’t seem to remember that he had a big ouchy on his head!

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