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Through the emergency department doors

"There's nothing in here that isn't state-of-the-art," recent recruit Anupam Kharbanda, M.D., says of the hospital's children's-only emergency department. (Photo: Brady Willette)

As codirectors of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital, Ronald Furnival, M.D., and Mark Roback, M.D., share a big job. They are building an emergency department that promises to become one of the best in the country.

Their role is especially important because a significant number of patients will come to the new children’s hospital via its pediatric-only emergency department.

Most of these children will be seen for common problems such as trauma, asthma, fever, and abdominal pain, as well as serious flare-ups of chronic conditions. “Research is vital to discern the ideal way to treat these acute conditions in the emergency department setting,” says Anupam Kharbanda, M.D., who recently joined the pediatric emergency medicine team as director of research and assistant professor.

Kharbanda has developed an algorithm to determine a child’s risk for appendicitis when he or she comes into the emergency department with acute abdominal pain. “The goal is to reduce our reliance on imaging without missing an appendicitis,” he explains, noting that the same approach could potentially be adopted for assessing other illnesses.

“We are an academic children’s hospital,” says Roback. “One of the things that’s so exciting about working here is to witness how teaching and research are helping us continually provide better emergency department care for children.”

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