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OU amid coronavirus: OU Medicine emergency room physician discusses ways to treat children's injuries safely

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An OU Medicine pediatric emergency room physician explained how parents can take care of their children’s health safely during the COVID-19 pandemic in a video released Wednesday.

Ryan Brown said in the video that most people are concerned about their own health, their kids’ health and the health of others in their family during the pandemic. 

“We (at OU Medicine) are taking every precaution whatsoever to protect not only ourselves, but our families and our children to make sure … that if they do come, they will be protected,” Brown said. 

Brown said if a child is sick or injured, the first step parents should take is calling their primary care doctor to determine next steps. He also said if a child has ingested a toxic substance, parents can call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222, and a healthcare professional can tell them whether to visit the emergency room. 

Orthopedic injuries have been very common during the pandemic, Brown said, as children are still often rambunctious while at home. 

Brown said if a child can still walk after getting an injury, watching that child and seeing if their injury improves at home is a good idea. He said, however, that if a parent notices serious effects from an injury — a seizure, vomiting or the child not acting like theirself — they should probably be taken to the emergency room.

Parents should decide whether to call an ambulance on a case-by-case basis, Brown said — if a child is hurt or sick but is able to function otherwise, their parents might decide to bring them to the hospital in their car. However, if a child is unresponsive, extremely sick or needs an IV, their parents should call 911. 

Brown said since kids are together at home more, older kids could convince younger kids to do dangerous things. Because of this, he said parents should try to be more aware of their children’s activities. 

In most cases, the OU Medicine staff is allowing only one parent into an emergency room with their child, Brown said, and that parent will have to complete a questionnaire asking if they’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to positive COVID-19 cases. 

“We are being extra precautious for our safety and for their safety,” Brown said. “So, please, if you are having to come to the emergency department, don’t bring the whole family — bring the sick child, bring yourself, and leave the other kids at home.” 

Brown said the process for admitting patients to the hospital hasn’t changed during the pandemic, but they’re allowing younger patients to be in a room with only one parent. He said they keep all the facilities clean, and try to keep the number of people besides patients in the hospital to a minimum. 

“It’s already a stressful situation, so we want to make sure that we take that additional stress of the (COVID-19) concern out of the (equation),” Brown said. 

Brown said parents can look up different conditions their child might be experiencing and find out if they should bring that child to the emergency room on the OU Medicine website

Brown also said the OU Medicine staff is there to help families, and they’re more concerned about the families they serve, as well as their own families, than themselves. 

“We’re showing up every day … to help take care of the kids because kids are still going to fall, they’re still going to get sick, and someone needs to take care of them, and our nurses (and) our (doctors) are the best people to do it,” Brown said.

Ari Fife is the OU Daily summer editor-in-chief and a sophomore journalism major minoring in international studies and political science. Previously, she served as a senior news reporter and was an SGA beat reporter.

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