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La Jolla Mom

San Diego – When Your Child Breaks a Bone After Hours

BY La Jolla Mom

Well, it happened again. La Jolla Girl was trying to get on our bed while carrying a bunch of stuffed animals. She slipped and tried to break her fall with her wrist. And, of course, it was 5:30pm and past regular doctor’s hours. She also conveniently broke her foot on a Sunday last fall. Just in case this happens to you when your doctor is not available, here’s what we did.

Our normal doctor is at Scripps in Carmel Valley. After the fall of the bed, I called her office and the answering service put in a request for a triage nurse at Rady Children’s Hospital to call me back. I received a phone call within 5 minutes.

The nurse walked me through a diagnosis. Could she move her hand this way and that way? What does the swelling look like? She stayed on the phone with me for quite some time and was very nice, calm and helpful.

Our decision was to give La Jolla Girl Tylenol and to watch the wrist for a few hours to see if she could eventually hold something with her hand, once she calmed down. About 30 minutes later, I decided to take her to Urgent Care. I knew it was broken.

I called Martha, our triage nurse, back and asked what my plan of attack should be. Here are a few things I knew from our last experience:

  • Rady Children’s Hospital is the only place in San Diego that can put on a cast.
  • Some x-ray facilities aren’t expert at pediatric x-rays. In that case, Rady will require a new set. They told me that Scripps is “usually” good at it. Her foot x-rays were done at Scripps Carmel Valley, but there was some concern as to whether Rady would accept them. Given it took 4 hours to get those x-rays, I would have been very upset if they were rejected. Luckily, they weren’t.
  • There’s a serious amount of waiting involved in the process, from break to cast.
  • You sometimes have to be proactive to get the result you want.

Mid City Urgent Care is a part of Rady Children’s Hospital and this is where we decided to go in lieu of Scripps Green, which is closer. At Mid City, we knew she’d be seen by a pediatrician and that the x-ray technician would certainly be experienced with pediatric x-rays.

It is not in a great neighborhood and there were kids sick with the flu in the waiting room. However, we were in and out within an hour. The doctor, nurses and x-ray technician had beyond excellent bedside manner. There was a giant Scooby Doo and kids music playing in the x-ray room.

I fully believe that this made a huge difference. With the broken foot, we practically had to pin La Jolla Girl on the x-ray table because she was hysterical and the technician was impatient and unsympathetic. At Mid City, we were registered, given a mini exam, x-rayed, diagnosed, given a splint and out again quickly. There were about 3 other families in the waiting room at the time.

The extreme bummer was that they could only give her Motrin and a splint. We were told to call the main orthopedics line at Rady Children’s Hospital in the morning. The great thing is that since Mid City Urgent Care is one of their facilities, her file transferred and they already had her information when I called.

However, the appointment scheduler told me that they had 6-10 days to schedule a cast for her. I got upset (the stress had worn me down), so they were able to get us in that afternoon. I was told by others on Twitter that their kids had to wait a few days for casts too. Because I stood my ground, she left on the same day I called with a purple cast.

Contrary to the broken foot, we were in and out of orthopedics in about an hour too. I’m wondering if we just got lucky with less waiting this time or if by eliminating Scripps (which we love), the process was naturally faster.

The bottom line is that you should keep this phone number in your cell phone. It will get you to a triage nurse after hours.

(858) 576-1700

They told me to keep the number on hand at all times, so I thought I’d share it. The triage nurses can walk you through what your best option is. Of course, if it’s an severe break or emergency, dial 911.

And with that, we will be avoiding pools and beaches for the rest of the summer.

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9 thoughts on “San Diego – When Your Child Breaks a Bone After Hours

  1. Thankfully we have not had to deal with this yet with my toddler (yet being the key word) but what do you mean Rady’s is the only place that can put on a cast? If we went to an ER at Scripps or Sharp, they will not put on a cast? I have had to use the triage number before for illnesses. I did not know this about a break — and with my son I know that I will have that as an issue at some point!

    1. Not for pediatrics. Believe me, I asked and asked when this happened because I wanted to do exam, x-rays and cast in one spot! I will say, I’ve been very pleased with the care we’ve received at Rady so far.

      1. I love Radys — we just aren’t as close to it as we are to Scripps or Sharp in an emergency. This is good to know for if (when) we have to get a cast.

  2. I feel like this is one to keep and laminate for future reference. I have a friend who is an ER doc at Rady’s. I just hope she’s on call if this happens, because I’d want a cast the same day, too! Also – love the purple. No reason LJG should not look good in a cast 🙂

  3. I wish I would have had this information last summer. My daughters break occurred right before 5:00 p.m on a Friday. I was turned away at UCSD Thorton urgent care and sent to Rady’s Children’s Hospital. If I had this number in my cell I could have had expert advice to help in my decision making!

  4. I am sorry this happened, but glad you were prepared, call and it all worked out. I’ll be thinking of you over the next couple of weeks. Having a kid in a cast is no fun, for you or your child!

  5. Pingback: How To Keep A Cast Dry In A Swimming Pool Or Bath
  6. Well i can agree on one thing 4sure you can get a cast after hours but, not when it’s the weekend. I can’t believe in health care not being able to get a cast at RADY’S childrens hospital! YES rady’s we had taken our 10 yera old when she was 2 there & had to wait till monday! Just this past weekday on fri my 3 year old fell from our RV & her elbow broke her fall. We took her to sharp coronado & we were not able to get a cast so we went to rady’s & AGAIN same story as have to wait till monday! WHAT KIND OF CRAPP IS THAT ??? y do they not have people working on weekends? there’s ready to handle poor lil kids crying cuz their in so much pain

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