More Hospitals Allowing Parents In ER As Doctors Treat Their Children

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Parents typically are not allowed in the emergency room as doctors work on their injured children.

But as CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported Thursday, there now is a growing trend that permits and even encourages parents to be in the room.

When Jonah Downs, 10, broke his leg at school, his parents were waiting at the hospital when the ambulance arrived.

“We were immediately ushered into the trauma room with my son and the medical team,” said his mother, Lynette Ancona.

Traditionally, parents are made to stay in a separate waiting area. But a new national survey by Orlando Health finds that 90 percent of Americans say parents should have the option to stay with their child during trauma care.

At Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, parents are invited to be a part of their child’s treatment – along with a dedicated staff member to keep them informed.

While the policy is farm from the norm, several major pediatric trauma centers in the New York area also allow parents in the room – not just for procedures, but even during resuscitations.

Experts say it can actually have medical benefits.

“So while we’re working with lifesaving procedures, they’re finding out what allergies they have, what chronic medications; chronic illnesses,” said Dr. Donald Plumley of the Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. “That really helps us guide our care, which we never had before.”

And while it may be difficult to watch your child go through trauma, the majority of patients opt to be in the room – and generally handle difficult situations pretty well.

“It’s hard to believe unless you’re in that situation, but you just find the strength because you have to,” Ancona said.

“They held me close. They whispered, you know, calm, easing words and tried to calm me down, mainly,” Jonah added.

Even though there is always a nurse or a social worker with the parents in the room, the practice may not be for every parent. Sometimes, there may be injuries that even the strongest parent should not see.

Still, experts say the medical and emotional benefits can be significant.

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