Talent and teamwork in pediatric Emergency Department prove lifesaving in two rare cases

March 04, 2021 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health

When your child needs emergency care, you put your hope in the hands of the pediatric Emergency Room (ER) team. You depend on their expertise to get your child well again. Sometimes, it’s a matter of life and death.

This was the case with two young patients who came to the Edward pediatric ER in Naperville. Two very different emergencies, both life-threatening. Both illustrate the talent and lifesaving teamwork of the pediatric subspecialists at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Rare pediatric heart attack

In November 2020, a 12-year-old boy arrived at the Edward ER. He was vomiting and had chest pain. Ming Chien, M.D., pediatric emergency physician at Edward Hospital, saw him and immediately noted an uncomfortable child with a significantly abnormal EKG.

The boy’s cardiac lab tests were abnormal and, after consultation with on-call pediatric cardiologist, Mehmet Gulecyuz, M.D., an echocardiogram was obtained and confirmed heart failure, with a suspected large mass or thrombus in the boy’s heart. It was a very rare and very serious emergency.

Recognizing the severity of the situation and the potential need for pediatric cardiovascular surgery, Dr. Chien had the young patient transferred to Advocate Children’s Hospital, where he had open heart surgery to remove a massive life-threatening blood clot. He returned back home and is doing well thanks to the care he received, which began with a talented, fast-acting ER team at Edward Hospital.

Young patient choking on a peanut

In February 2021, a toddler boy arrived at the Edward ER very sick and having difficulty breathing. Three weeks prior, his parents said he had choked on some peanuts. Since then, he had some issues on and off but seemed fine — until the day when he started having trouble breathing.

Susan Daley, M.D., pediatric emergency physician at Edward Hospital, was in the ER that day. Upon her initial evaluation, Dr. Daley consulted with Sally Seraphin, M.D., independent pediatric anesthesiologist on the medical staff at Edward Hospital. Dr. Seraphin then called Manali Amin, M.D., independent pediatric otolaryngologist on the medical staff of Edward Hospital, who was at home and came in right away.

The three doctors worked together to stabilize the boy. Since the boy’s parents didn’t speak English, the doctors used interpreter phones to communicate with them. At times, it was touch-and-go. The young patient was having a lot of trouble breathing. But Dr. Daley knew that if the peanut was in the wrong place, he could die if they tried to insert a tube to assist him in breathing. The doctors worked together to remove a large peanut from his lung, but he was still extremely sick.

Knowing he needed a center that provided a higher level of care, Dr. Daley transported him to Lurie Children’s Hospital. The three Edward doctors accompanied the young patient to the operating room at Lurie, where he underwent surgery to remove more peanuts from his lung. Today, he is doing well at home.

In both situations, Edward’s ER was the first point of care. And in both situations, Edward’s expert ER team and highly trained subspecialists contributed to saving the lives of the two young patients.

Edward ER is staffed by emergency medicine doctors and nurses trained in pediatric and trauma care and pediatric advanced life support. Edward Hospital is one of only 10 Pediatric Critical Care Centers in Illinois offering a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for children who need critical care.

The team is able to handle most emergencies that come their way. In those rare and serious occasions when a unique level of care is needed, the talented ER doctors and subspecialists know what to do to stabilize the patient and get them to the best place for further treatment.

Open around the clock, Edward-Elmhurst Health’s fully-equipped kid-friendly Emergency Departments (EDs) in Naperville and Elmhurst, and a freestanding emergency center in Plainfield, provide specialized emergency care focused on the unique needs of children.

Learn more about our pediatric emergency care and check our ED wait times.

Our hospitals have earned national recognition in patient safety and quality. We’ve put numerous measures in place to keep everyone safe.

For updates on our planning and response efforts as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19, please check EEHealth.org/coronavirus.

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