Children’s emergency rooms remain open

Despite the pandemic and curfew, the Montreal Children's Hospital and Sainte-Justine want to assure parents it is safe and permitted to bring their children to the emergency department

Children's emergency rooms remain open

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The emergency departments of Montreal’s children’s hospitals are reassuring parents that they are open, safe, and fully able to care for sick youngsters.

On January 14, both the Montreal Children’s Hospital and CHU Sainte-Justine posted statements saying that despite the curfew in place, parents can still take their children to the emergency departments during the evening or night.

The Montreal Children’s Hospital has seen a significant drop in visits to its emergency department since the pandemic started in March, and have heard from families that they are hesitant to come in because of COVID-19.  With the government’s new curfew, they are now also worried about venturing out past 8 p.m. Both hospitals stated that they will provide attestation letters to families using the ED after 8 p.m., to let police know that they have a right to be outside after curfew.

“We want to reassure families that we are very, very safe in terms of COVID and infection control precautions, and to also let families know that if they need to come to the emergency department, not to hesitate, we will provide an attestation letter for them,” said Dr. Laurie Plotnick, Medical Director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. “I always reassure families that if you’re worried, come. You know your child best.”

Plotnick said that the reasons for coming to the emergency department have not changed during the pandemic. These can include respiratory problems, not drinking, and prolonged fever.

Plotnick notes that while Info-Santé and their nurses can help determine if a visit to the emergency department is needed, they can’t see the baby or child. “I still say that the parents or the caregivers know the child best, so if there is a concern, just come. Illnesses can become worse, injuries can become worse, and if there is a delay, there is the risk of a child getting more sick, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid.”

Dr. Antonio D’Angelo, emergency chief at Sainte-Justine echoed Dr. Plotnick’s concerns, and wants to prevent families from waiting too long to consult for urgent health issues. “In children, especially younger ones, the condition can deteriorate very quickly. A few hours sometimes make the difference.”

Children's emergency rooms remain open

When visiting the hospital’s emergency departments, please follow all health guidelines and COVID-19 protocols. More information for each hospital’s emergency department can be found below:

Montreal Children’s Hospital: thechildren.com/departments-and-staff/departments/department-of-emergency
CHU Sainte-Justine: chusj.org/en/Care-Services/U/Emergency-room