First, I thank all emergency room doctors for being there for my children: on the weekends, on the holidays, in the middle of the night, in bad weather.

A few requests that will make the times we spend together go more smoothly:

I am a scared parent. Though the doctor may have already reassured herself as to my child’s safety, it will take some time for me to calm down from my terror. I am looking for support medically, but also emotionally.

Please respect my experience with my child. Take what I’m saying into account. It may not fit into what the studies say about a certain condition, yet studies all have the odd patient result. My child may be that odd patient in this case. I’m the one who has lived with this child; my information should be considered.

It would be helpful to know what is going to happen when the doctor leaves the room. Will he be coming back, or will it be a nurse? Sometimes I have more questions that I thought I’d have the chance to ask, only to learn that my chance was gone. Sometimes I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks but didn’t realize I would not be seeing the doctor again.

Finally, I’d very much appreciate not getting skeptical looks when I explain what my primary care physician or specialist has directed. If the doctor has an honest medical concern, of course, I want to hear it. But if she doesn’t, it is just confusing and dispiriting to feel disapproval coming from her. Medicine is far from an exact science. Chances are I’ve already had to discern from many conflicting opinions regarding my children’s health and home care. I’m doing the best I can.

Again, I give my thanks to all ER doctors for the time and devotion they put into their jobs. We all depend on them.

Ashirah Knapp


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