Our experience of a German Casualty department

We spent our holidays in Germany visiting family and friends. We had a great time and have seen lots of Germany.

One place that was not on our agenda was the Casualty department of a German hospital.

It happened on a Sunday afternoon. We were visiting friends near Hamburg. After a heavy shower the children decided to go to the playground. They brought towels to dry the swings and slides.

Our eldest daughter decided that it was a good idea to sit on a towel and go down the wet slide. She flew down the slide and tried to stop as she was very fast. Her arm hit the edge of the slide.

The initial signs were those of a sprain. Luckily we have a First Aid kit in our car. After applying an ice pack and a sling which we took from the First Aid kit she settled quickly. However that evening she complained of more pain and the elbow looked now out of shape. At this stage we decided to get this checked out. For more information on First Aid for musculoskeletal injuries click here.

As part of our preparation to go on this big trip (4.700km from Ireland to Germany) we applied for the European Health Insurance cards for all of us (formerly known as E111 forms). It’s a simple procedure and we would highly recommend that everybody who travels to Europe should have this card. Don’t forget it’s free!!

We attended the local hospital in Rotenburg near Hamburg. With 800 beds it is almost as big as Beaumont hospital (820 beds).

We registered at A&E. Here we had to produce our daughter’s European Health Insurance card. In addition I just had to fill in an A5 document asking for name and address and next of kin. The secretary sent us from there to the surgical A&E. She said “just follow the red arrows on the ground and I tell them that you are on the way”. After walking for a few minutes the red arrows brought us to our destination.

We were already expected by a nurse. She just asked for a brief summary of what happened. While she documented this a doctor came to us who looked at my daughters arm. She sent us to the Radiology department for an x-ray. This time we had to follow blue arrows on the ground. The nurse told us that she would ring the technician.

Once we arrived in Radiology we had to wait for 5 minutes as some poor man needed the xray more than us. As soon as her arm was x-rayed we had to go back to the surgical casualty ward. Again we were greeted by the nurse who straight away brought us into a small examination room. She told us that the doctor would be with us in 5 minutes. Within those 5 minutes a nurse entered who brought the good news that the arm wasn’t broken. As proof the nurse gave my daughter a print out of the x-ray. She applied a pressure bandage with some ointment and told us to wait for the doctor.

She arrived minutes later with the discharge letter in her hand and wished us a nice holiday.

The whole procedure from registering at reception to the moment we were discharged took less than one hour. I was highly impressed!

We received fantastic care in a very professional manner. And best of all thanks to the European Health Insurance card we didn’t pay a cent (well the car park cost me €1.50). Our daughter was slightly disappointed as she had already decided the colour of her plaster cast. The x-ray of her arm however made up for it.

It was a lucky escape for us and we enjoyed the rest of our journey. The morale of the story – prepare yourself before you go on holidays!

Apply for your free European Health Insurance card and bring a First Aid kit. By the way if you travel in Europe it’s compulsory to have a First Aid kit in your car. The cops there will check this and are not interested if you paid your motor tax!

If you would like to purchase a First Aid kit please contact us as we stock a variety of very competitively priced kits.

Heat stroke in cars

Finally summer has arrived in Ireland. We all enjoy the warm weather and always hope for some hot days.

It is the season that can be very dangerous for children. Many parents underestimate the dangers that arise if you leave your child in a car while you are just quickly leaving to nip into the shops.

There are very few statistical data for Ireland available. However data from the US states that there were over 500 deaths of children left in cars since 1998. In 2010 49 children died while unattended in cars.

Even though we don’t get the hot temperatures like in many parts of the US research has shown that the risk of heat stroke (hyperthermia) increases significantly if outside temperatures reach 72F (22 degrees). Please watch the video below as it gives you some idea how quickly your car can heat up.

Children that have died from vehicular hyperthermia in the United States (1998-2010) have ranged in age from 5 days to 14 years. More than half of the deaths are children under 2 years of age.

What happens to a car when the outside temperature rises?

[youtube]2gM7H7jfEjw[/youtube]

Safety recommendations:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. Not even for a minute.
  • If you see a child unattended in a car call 999 (112)
  • Be sure that all occupants leave the car. Don’t overlook sleeping babies.
  • Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to the keys.
  • If a is child missing check the car, including the boot!
  • Make “look before you leave” a routine before you get out of the car.

Sources:

http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/health/cardiac/52352/number-of-children-who-die-in.asp
http://ggweather.com/heat/
http://www.vahealth.org/Injury/safetyseat/hotcars.htm