Emergency Medicine: Services

Our pediatric emergency physicians are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of emergencies in infants, children and young adults. Services range from treating minor emergencies to life-threatening conditions.

Family-centered care is our philosophy and foundation. Parents or guardians are involved in the entire process of care, including triage, medical screening, treatment and discharge planning. Nurses, physicians, child life specialists, medical receptionists, care partners and other members of our team work together to support the physical and emotional needs of the child's family.

We typically treat the following types of emergencies.

Acute Medical Problems

These problems include high or persistent fever, severe infections, difficulty breathing, severe pain, dehydration, seizures, stroke and severe allergic reactions.

Major Injuries

Major Injuries include fractures, head injuries, burns, and conditions resulting from motor vehicle crashes, falls or other incidents.

Sports Injuries

As safe as kids' sporting events are these days, there's always a risk of an accident. The emergency medical experts at Children's Hospital work with our orthopaedists and other specialists to provide care and treatment following sports-related mishaps.

Poisonings and Overdoses

For a poison emergency, call the Poison Hotline at 1-800-222-1222. All calls are free. The Tennessee Poison Center is located in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and is supervised by our board-certified toxicologists.

Severe Complications of Chronic Illnesses

Children with special healthcare needs frequently require emergency care for acute life-threatening complications that are unique to chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, sickle cell disease and congenital (existing at birth) or other disabling disorders.

Trauma Center

Our Level I Trauma Center, the only one within 150 miles of Nashville, provides the highest level of care to pediatric trauma patients. Our specialists, including surgeons, emergency medicine specialists, anesthesiologists, radiologists, and nurse practitioners are available 24 hours a day.

Our teams of experts mobilize rapidly once alerted that a child victim of trauma is en route to the emergency department. In most cases, the team is in place and waiting prior to the child's arrival and is able to relay instructions to the emergency response team.

With the availability of the rooftop helipad for Vanderbilt LifeFlight medical transport helicopters, the Emergency Department often serves as the gateway for acutely ill or injured children to access Children's Hospital. Learn more about our trauma service.

Emergency Surgical Services

Emergency surgery is non-elective surgery performed when the patient's life or well-being is in direct danger. Emergency surgery can include appendectomy, plastic surgery, invasive types of resuscitation, removal of airway obstructions, or the treatment of burns or blunt and penetrating head, chest and abdomen injuries.