Pediatrics in the ER: An Interview With Dr. Andrea E.C. Shah, M.D.

Emergency Room physicians deal with life-and-death situations every day, handling all manner of traumas, illnesses, and injuries. Among them are ER pediatricians, specialists like Dr. Andrea E. C. Shah, M.D., a Jefferson Medical College alumnus who completed her pediatric residency at DuPont Hospital for Children. “I have spent my career practicing mostly acute care pediatrics in a multitude of settings,” says Dr. Shah, a Florida resident and mom of three active boys, “including hospitals, emergency departments, pediatric acute care centers, and private pediatric offices.”

Dr. Shah recommends that all children with medical challenges wear medical ID jewelry. “I’ve learned as a pediatrician and as a mother that emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime. You can’t predict emergencies, so you can’t plan on being available to provide any necessary or relevant information. You may not be present, you may be rendered unable to speak, and/or your child may be rendered unable to speak. Medical ID jewelry could be the only ‘voice’ during the chaos of the emergency.”

In fact, Dr. Shah feels that even children without medical conditions can benefit from wearing ICE (In Case of Emergency) IDs. “Again, because emergencies are unpredictable, if there is any information that you would want to be able to communicate in an emergency, it could be helpful to have an ICE, even if it just lists ways to get a hold of you.”

Asked about the difference a medical ID can make in an emergency situation, Dr. Shah reminds us that in the field with EMTs and in the ER, seconds count. “Accurate diagnosis and treatment in the early stages of multiple medical conditions can affect the outcome. For example, in a severe allergic reaction like anaphylaxis, whether it be an allergy to a food, a bee sting, or a medication, a dose of a medication called epinephrine can be life-saving. The sooner the epinephrine is given, the better the outcome. If a child is wearing medical ID jewelry that identifies them as having a severe allergy, the emergency medical personnel can be aware of the potential issue immediately, preventing a possible delay in treatment.”

Many parents think a medical ID could be a good idea for their children, but really aren’t sure what to engrave, not knowing which information should take priority. According to Dr. Shah, “A medical ID should list any information that you would want to communicate during an emergency. Any medical conditions that the child has should be included. Some specific examples are: diabetes, seizure disorder, heart condition, asthma, blood disorder, sickle cell disease, autism, communication disorder, mental impairment, or other chronic illness. Also important would be to list medications and allergies.”

If you’re not sure what to engrave on your child’s medical ID, how to spell or abbreviate a term, or are simply unsure what type of ID your child needs, talk with your pediatrician, or give us a call. Our customer service representatives are always glad to help!

*Special thanks today to Dr. Andrea E. C. Shah, M.D. for sharing her expertise with our readers!

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