Child Life Expert Offers Advice for Parents
Six Emergency Department physicians from the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore are on their way to New York to provide medical assistance in the wake of the World Trade Center collapse. They will help the staff at St. Vincent's Hospital, which is the closest hospital to the World Trade Center.
"Like everyone else, we have been watching everything very carefully. Everyone here has been anxious to do something and when news reports mentioned last night that medical staff at St. Vincent's was getting tired and needed relief, these physicians looked at their schedules and decided to go. They responded to a great need," said Brian Browne, M.D., director of emergency medicine services at the University of Maryland Medical Center and professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Dr. Thomas Scalea, physician-in-chief of the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says a team of Shock Trauma doctors also has volunteered to assist and is on stand-by. They include trauma surgeons, neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, plastic surgeons and anesthesiologists.
Meanwhile, as the tragedy is discussed by families across the nation, many parents are concerned about how to help their children understand and cope with the news.
"The most prominent question in the minds of many children right now is whether they are safe, and whether their parents and others who care for them are safe," says Carmel Mahan, MS Ed., Child Life Manager at the University of Maryland Hospital for Children.
Mahan advises parents to reassure their children. "Parents can explain that just like there is a fire plan in place at home or at school, that the police and other officials have plans in effect that will keep them safe and away from harm." She says it is important to allow children to describe their feelings and discuss their concerns, and also encourage them to express themselves by drawing or play-acting.
Mahan suggests that parents limit their children's exposure to the constant news coverage of the tragedy, because the more they see of it, the more they will become scared. In addition, children may think that more terrible things keep happening, not realizing that much of the news footage is a replay of the original incidents.
"The signs of stress among children include becoming more clingy or having nightmares," says Mahan, who is a certified child life specialist. "They may express their stress by acting younger than their age, and may begin sucking their thumb again or having incidents of bed wetting. If symptoms of stress do not resolve within a week or two, consider contacting your child's pediatrician or school counselor for more specific recommendations," she adds.
The University of Maryland Medical Center put its emergency plan into effect yesterday for potential patient overflow from persons injured in the Pentagon building collapse in Washington, D.C. No patients were brought to the Medical Center and the hospital emergency plan was lifted at 8 a.m. this morning.
The University of Maryland Medical Center is operating normally and maintaining its surgery and appointments schedule, including those for elective surgeries.
Persons interested in donating blood to help those injured in yesterday's terrorist attacks should call the American Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.
For patient inquiries, call 1-800-492-5538 or click here to make an appointment.