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Pediatric Urgent Care & Emergency Rooms
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Pediatric Urgent Care & Emergency Rooms
Last night my 5 year old daughter got an ear infection at 7pm, which was unfortunately 2 hours after her doctor's office had closed. Luckily, I found a number for Night Owl Pediatrics, we got their 7:45 appointment, and were done with the appointment by 8:20! She even got a popsicle and a toy after the visit. They saved me a night of waiting at the ER cause there was NO way we were going to have any rest with my daughter's ear hurting as much as it was. It was worth the 25 minute drive into Pleasant Hill to see them. I was so thankful for them! I told them I'd spread the word. Aimee
After having an awful experience at the Oakland Kaiser ER, we
are looking for a better ER (i.e., kid-friendly, adequate
staffing, clean). We currently have Kaiser insurance, but will
be able to change plans soon if necessary. Would like to hear
about any good/bad experiences at other Kaiser ERs or other
local hospital ERs (Alta Bates, Children's Hospital, etc.)
mom of 2 active boys
We've taken our sons to Children's Hospital Oakland whenever
needed. Always a good experience. One of our sons was
recently admitted, when the Drs weren't 100% sure what the
cause of his symptoms were. With pediatrics, they know not to
throw caution to the wind. Children's Hospital of course has
pediatric specialists, and are equipped and experienced to
handle typical pediatrics emergencies. Don't judge the care by
the waiting room. The facilities and staff are outstanding.
My son truly didn't want to leave after one day, as children
are treated so well.
We use Richmond Kaiser and have always been treated quickly and
well, for me, my husband and my kids. Richmond Kaiser is smaller
and usually less crowded than Oakland. Although it's been a few
years since we've been to the emergency room I never felt it was
dirty. I''ve heard horror stories about waiting 8 hours to be
seen in Oakland. Never my experience in Richmond.
I felt we received good emergency care at the Richmond
Kaiser for our one year old daughter. We were seen right
away and the waiting room was not unpleasant. We have
also been very happy with their pediatrics department. We
have heard good things about Children's Hospital but our
one experience there was so-so.
Funny you should inquire about pediatric ERs-- I just had a
very lousy experience at Alta Bates with my 4 year old vomiting
son last week. I am a pediatrician (altho I have not practiced
since moving to Bay Area a couple years ago), so I have a
fairly informed perspective on this. I went to Alta Bates bcs
it was close by and I knew all my son needed was some
intravenous fluids as he was getting dehydrated. It took over
an hour to be triaged (this may not sound that bad, but
dehydration in children can be life-threatening; no one even
looked at him except a kind security guard who brought over an
emesis basin and blanket when he continued to throw up while
waiting); then the triage nurse told me rather defensively that
he was not THAT sick, despite multiple signs of dehydration
(pulse 50% elevated, dry mouth, extreme thirst, complaints of
dizziness, no urination for hours), so we sat and waited
another 4 hours before seeing a doctor. In a pediatric ER they
might have offered pedialyte to try while you're waiting, but
here it was a struggle to get a glass of water. Then they were
unable to get a blood pressure on him bcs of not having
appropriate sized cuff or some malfunction with machinery. The
nurse's aide went off to get a manual BP machine but never
returned. The doctor was nice enough, but clearly not that
experienced with kids, and seemed ready to send us home altho
readily agreed to give him some IV fluids when I suggested it.
The nurse who put it in was very kind and actually did a great
job both technically and talking my son thru the insertion,
altho she had to ask another nurse for help with the details of
the tubing (''We don't get that many kids here'', she told me).
After the fluid went in, which was the only reason we were
there as far as I was concerned, we had to wait over another
hour to be discharged; we finally got home at 5:30 am. The
discharge instructions were preprinted, and they made no sense--
on the SAME page, the instructions advised NOT to give your
dehydrated child sports drinks or popsicles in one section;
further down in the Diet section, it recommended ''clear
liquids'' for 2 days, offering those same two items as examples
of what you SHOULD give. (most recent recommendation is
actually to give your child rehydration fluids plus a more or
less normal diet as he can tolerate; there is NO reason to
starve your poor child if he or she feels like eating).. I
think most ERs these days suffer from insufficient staffing and
overcrowding, largely as a result of our ridiculous,
dysfunctional, fragmented so-called health care system. It is
very clear that the money is going to profits (CEOs and
shareholders), not to providing quality care. Still, I think a
childrens' hospital ER would probably be better bcs there are
likely to be more potential advocates for your child to help
you negotiate system and who understand kids' unique needs.
Unfortunately, my child has been to the ER at ChildrenC-s
Hospital far more than I can count-for minor and life-
threatening issues and each time I think to myself how lucky I
feel to live so close to such a phenomenal place. Sometimes the
ER waits have been long, other times she was seen immediately.
I have never felt like she was being ignored or was in danger
when we have had to wait. Every doctor and nurse has been
extremely patient and caring and they have all worked very well
with my daughterC-s outside pediatrician when necessary. She has
been admitted to the hospital a couple times and had to stay
several days. Again, her care was always fantastic and the
staff made sure I felt as comfortable as I could. The team of
doctors and specialists has been really great and I never
questioned her care. Aside from an occasional surly security
guard, I canC-t think of anything even remotely negative about
my childC-s 15+ experiences here. In fact, there is a fund
raising group of C,Grateful ParentsC. that are so happy with the
care their kids received that they work hard at giving back
however they can. I think that says a lot.
First, I must say that I work for John Muir Health. But first
and foremost I am the mom of an active 2.5 year old son who has
visited more ER's than I care to remember. He comes first.
That said, we had a horrible experience at Sutter Solano in
Vallejo last month. I would actually drive to avoid them if
In the last year, my most enjoyable (odd, I know) experience
has been at John Muir in Walnut Creek. I was a new employee,
careful to not wear my ID badge, and everyone was very nice.
They have ''ED North'' where kids with peas in their noses,
strains and in our case, a head laceration, go for quick care,
so they are not waiting around for hours and hours. We were
in/out in under two hours, which is pretty impressive to the
8.5 we spent at Sutter Solano for a deep finger laceration.
Remember though...that John Muir is the regional trauma center,
so you may get a wait if a serious accident or helicopter comes
in. But you also get access to all the medical know-how too.
mom to a clutsy little guy
We experienced both Alta Bates and Childrens' Hospital with my son (croup and
With no doubt Children's Hospital was the best. At Alta Bates we waited about
3 hours and that's not a child friendly ER - or adult friendly, really. Lot's of
homeless people, drug addicts. Not dangerous, but very uncomfortable.
At Children's Hospital it's all about children. Nicer waiting room, attentive and
responsive care - they have bottles, sippy cups, etc.... Whatever insurance I
get, I make sure my kids' doctor is affiliated with Children's Hospital.
We had a good experience recently with my 3 year old at the Children's Hospital ER.
was very clean and cheerful, and the staff were very attentive, caring, and
knowledgeable. It wasn't an easy experience, but they helped in every way they
Mom of other active kids
we've been to Childrens ER twice for very different problems.
once a cut that needed stitches and once for an asthma
exacerbation - both with kids under one year old
children's hospital fan
I'm so sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience with
Kaiser's ER. I'm afraid that most ER's are that way today as a
result of the state of our health care. The burden has shifted
to the ER, to pick up the tremendous overflow of those
uninsured or with little to no access to healthcare. With that
being said, I have had adequate results at Childrens in Oakland
and John Muir (although that sounds too far for you). I have
not been to Alta Bates ER. Children's Oakland has top docs but
the wait can be excruciating depending on how busy they are.
I have learned over the years that when it comes to health
care, particularly ER's, you should be kind and courteous to
the check in people. But you also have to really let them know
that your medical situation is most serious. Be kind, but
aggressive. It's like you are jockeying for position and the
squeaky wheel gets the grease. Sorry to sound so calice but
that is the reality of health care today, regardless of where
We've tried Alta Bates (the worst) Children's (the best because
that's what they are there for, with usually the longest wait),
and John Muir in Walnut Creek. As an alternative for non-life-
threating but serious medical issues that just cannot wait the
weekend or overnight, I strongly encourage you to make the trip
to Night Owl Pediatrics, 425 Gregory Lane, in Pleasant Hill.
Tel. (925) 288-3600. They take most insurance, it's only 15
mins through the tunnel, and is staffed by Pediatric ER
physicians. They are amazing, and I cannot speak highly enough
of them. We have taken both kids (3 y.o. and 16 m.o.) there
several times. The youngest had been coughing for several
weeks and I had been told by my regular pediatrican that it was
just a ''lingering'' cough that would go away eventually. At
Night Owl they immediately saw cause for concern and did a
chest x-ray right there and found serious pneumonnia, which my
regular pediatrician had been overlooking for a couple of
weeks. I did change my peds doc right away after that, by the
way! They have excellent staff and facilities, open M-F 5 pm -
11 pm, Sat & Sun 1-11 pm. Here is their website:
A No-ER, No-Ambulance Mama Anymore!
Why are you choosing your health care based on the Emergency Room? No
emergency room is going to be a really fun experience, especially in any kind of city
environment. Did you know that you can get same day urgent care appointments at
Kaiser? Do you like your pediatrician? You should not have to use the ER except in a
situation where you really are not going to care how ''kid-friendly'' it is. I have
had to bring my child to Kaiser Oakland ER but have been there several times for
myself or my husband, and while the waiting room is not exactly the lobby of the
Ritz, the care has been appropriately prompt and the medical care area has been
appropriately clean. I am interested to hear if anyone has been to Kaiser and
another ER and found them very different.
Learn to use your Kaiser
I had an undesirable experience with my almost 3yr old
son this weekend at Children's Hospital, Urgent Care.
Can anyone recommend A hospital in the east Bay with
good Pediatric care in the Emergency Room and or Urgent
Care Clinic? Maybe someone had a positive experience at
Children's? Any feed back you can give is much appreciated!
I have also had bad experiences at CHO the three times
that I have gone, including excessive waits (9 hours) in
the emergency room (with a child who was later admitted),
processes set up for the convenience of the hospital
personell, not for the patients and incorrect billing
on *every single occasion*. I urge all parents who have
had such an experience to write to the CEO of CHO, Tony
The address is:
CEO, Children's Hospital Oakland
747 52nd Street
Oakland, CA 94609
I did this after a very bad experience, and got a letter
back both from him and the medical director of the ER
who agreed that my daughter's case had been mishandled,
and that they were trying to put into place some changes
that might mitigate such an experience.
The problem is, that there are no options for other
emergency rooms in the East Bay for children. Most
pediatric practices in the East Bay refer to Children's,
and all ER's in the near area will transfer the child
to Children's. I have been told, though I have not
experienced it myself, that Children's is excellent if
your child is very sick, or if you have a disease that
is unusual or interesting.
I investigated other options, and if you truly wish to
avoid it you can become a Kaiser member, and use their
urgent care clinic, or drive out to John Muir. Your
insurance won't, in all likelihood, pay for John Muir.
You should consider switching to Kaiser if you are that
unhappy with Children's Hospital. As far as I know, most
non-Kaiser pediatricians in the East Bay will tell you
to use Children's for emergencies. So you are not going
to have much of a choice. Anyway, Children's is where
all the pediatric specialists are, so if you take your
child to some other emergency room, they will probably
transfer you to Children's. I have had good experience
with both Children's and Kaiser emergency rooms. But
if you are really unhappy with Children's then I think
your best alternative is to sign up with Kaiser in your
next open season for health insurance.
I've been to the Children's Emergency Room at least four
times, at least twice for fevers and twice for cuts. I've
been very happy with the medical staff (including the
triage nurse) each time. They were professional, friendly,
and seemed to be working hard at finding the best solution
for my son's problems and making sure they weren't
overlooking anything. I've had long waits on each
visit, even after getting into an examination room, but
I assume that's true of emergency rooms everywhere. I
did not believe I was treated unfairly, in comparison
to the needs of the other patients who were waiting.
The waiting room is not very comfortable or child-friendly,
however. I've also found the Children's Advice Line to
be very helpful and I've usually gotten very prompt
responses. I plan to stick with Children's.
We too had to use the Children's Hospital emergency room
a couple of months ago. I have to say that the care we
received was more than excellent and caring. I'm not
sure if they went overboard on testing but I appreciated
that they were thorough. However, everything else was
pretty unpleasant. We had a three hour wait in the middle
of the night in the waiting room, which felt pretty dirty,
on hard plastic chairs, obnoxious cartoons blaring loudly
in the background and a girl with a bad croupy cough,
old enough to be able to cover her mouth, but not doing
so. Neither her mother nor any hospital staff intervened
in this problem. They were also so crowded that once we
were seen we had to stay in a gurney in the hallway for
about 3 to 4 hours because there were no rooms available
in the ER for us. I know that the hospital can't control
how many people come in at any one time and they have
to triage the most serious cases first. I'm really okay
with that and I would go back there in a heartbeat should
the need arise, but it would be nice if they could make
their facility more comfortable and accomodating to families
with very young children.
this page was last updated: Sep 1, 2009
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