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Parents Often Right to Bring Kids With Fever to the ER: Study
Date:2/28/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Many parents who bring their children to the emergency room with fevers are making the right decision, Dutch investigators report.

"Self-referred febrile [feverish] children should not be generalized, and therefore not approached, as a uniform group of non-severely ill patients," said lead researcher Dr. Yvette van Ierland, from the department of pediatrics at Sophia Children's Hospital/Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam.

"Measures to discourage parents from self-referral are undesirable," she added. "This may potentially result in delayed or missed diagnoses."

In general, illnesses that are associated with a fever for which early diagnosis is important are serious bacterial infections, such as meningitis, bacteremia, urinary tract infections or pneumonia, Ierland said.

The researchers found that one in four parents properly judged and acted on their child's illness by going to the emergency room, Ierland said.

The report is published in the March issue of Pediatrics.

To see if parents' judgments were on target, Ierland's team compared children with fevers referred to emergency rooms by doctors to children who were brought in by their parents.

Of more than 4,600 children under the age of 16 with fever included in the study, 38 percent were referred by general practitioners and 62 percent by parents.

Among the children referred by doctors, 46 percent were classified as needing urgent care, compared with 45 percent of the children taken in by a parent, the researchers found.

In addition, 43 percent of children referred by doctors needed extensive treatment such as intravenous medications, asthma treatment or were hospitalized, compared with 27 percent of the children parents brought in for care, they noted.

Children who needed urgent care, such as those with difficulty breathing
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