East Tennessee Emergency Care
The Emergency Department at East Tennessee Children's Hospital provides highly specialized, emergency care for infants, children and teens, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because we treat more children needing emergency care than anyone else in East Tennessee, our doctors and nurses are equipped to treat everything from minor injuries to major medical concerns.
When to Visit the Emergency Room
Children's Hospital Emergency Department is more appropriate than a doctor's office for sudden and serious situations such as:
- A head injury that has caused loss of consciousness, vomiting or problems with balance or coordination
- An injury that has caused numbness, tingling or paleness in an extremity
- An injury that may need an X-ray
- Complications related to a chronic medical condition such as diabetes or asthma
- Difficulty breathing, gasping for breath, faster breathing, or noisier breathing than usual
- For an infant from birth to three months, any change in color, especially paleness or bluish color around the mouth and in the face
Our emergency facilities are the only in the city to offer the services of Child Life Specialists who help our patients cope with the anxiety of being in the Emergency Department. They are there to distract children during painful procedures, talk patients and their family through each aspect of treatment, and be an advocate for the child throughout their stay. We also have translation services available 24/7 to help anyone coming to Children's Hospital to fully understand a child's condition and treatment.
Children's Hospital's Lifeline ambulance is a custom-made neonatal/pediatric transport vehicles equipped like a mobile intensive care unit. It is designed to bring in premature babies and other pediatric patients from hospitals in surrounding areas. Learn more about our Lifeline services.
When to See Your Primary Care Provider
There are certain signs and symptoms to look for in children that are a reason to call a doctor. Keep in mind that whenever your child has a symptom that concerns you, you should not hesitate to call your child's regular doctor even if the symptom does not appear on the lists below.
Birth to 3 Months
- A high fever
- Conjunctivitis, or "pink eye"
- Redness or tenderness around the navel area
- Vomiting that continues for more than six hours
- Diarrhea that occurs more than eight times a day
- Stops feeding normally
- Uncontrollable crying for an abnormally long time
3 Months to 1 Year
- Temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit in infants 3 to 6 months, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit in children 6 months or older
- Refusing to eat for several feedings
- Unusual crankiness and irritability or unusual sleepiness
- Any blood in the stool
1 Year to Adolescent
- High fever
- Chills and full-body shaking
- Extreme sleepiness or unexplained lethargy
- Unusual excitement or hysterical crying
- Sudden weakness or paralysis of any part of the body
- Seizures or severe headache
- Earache, fluid discharge from the ear or sudden hearing loss
- Severe sore throat, especially with trouble swallowing or speaking
- Vomiting for 12 hours or more or vomiting of blood
- Intense or unusual abdominal pain or a swollen or abnormally large abdomen
- A sudden rash, crop of blotches or blisters, especially over a large area of the body
Although a trip to a hospital's Emergency Department is usually unexpected, there are a few things parents can do to prepare for a visit. Be sure to always have a child's Social Security number, current medication (dosage and schedule) and insurance information. This is good information to have available for your primary care provider as well.
ER Facilities Designed to Help Children Feel Relaxed & Calm
The Emergency Department was designed specifically with children in mind. The decor is kid-friendly, which helps children feel more comfortable during their hospital visit. Unlike adult hospitals, our Emergency Department has equipment made to fit growing bodies - from smaller needles and anesthesia masks to breathing tubes and blood pressure cuffs. In fact, many young patients who are initially taken to nearby adult hospitals are then transferred to Children's Hospital because we are better equipped to handle their special needs.