Spring is upon us here in South Tempe and West Chandler, and for many families, that brings both joy and pain. As area children hop on their bikes and play outdoors, many are suffering from allergies. Others get injured or catch one of the many respiratory illnesses going around.
Theresa Murdock, an emergency room pediatrician who lives in West Chandler, has worked at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for 14 years. When PCH opened its East Valley urgent care and specialty clinic in 2012, the mother of three began putting in shifts there as well.
The rooms at the clinic are brightly painted and the atmosphere is kid friendly, helping set children’s minds at ease in what might otherwise be a frightening environment.
Pointing to the specialized care little ones and youngsters receive at the East Valley site, Murdock noted that it’s best to bring smaller patients to a place that’s suited just for them. Children aren’t miniature adults, after all.
“I always say, you bring your vacuum to the vacuum shop. It’s way faster than to bring it to a small engine shop,” Murdock said. “It’s better if you go to a pediatric facility because we’re all trained in pediatrics.”
As for waiting hours upon hours at the emergency room, Murdock recommended bringing kids to urgent care instead. “If they’re not that sick, it’s best to go to an urgent care,” she said.
Remember though, she added, antibiotics won’t cure viruses. “For just a regular cough and a little congestion, antibiotics don’t make viruses better so don’t get frustrated waiting five hours at the E.R,” Murdock said.
Having seen her share of children’s injuries over the years in her line of work, Murdock offered a few tips for parents.
“I think with the little ones, everybody comes to me with a laceration from their coffee table. So either pad it or just move it out of the house until they’re not toddling around,” Murdock said. “Your kids are going to run and play. Get a bike helmet. There are so many kids that fall off their bikes and hit their head.”
Reflecting on her work at the clinic, Murdock said she enjoys the fact that the doctors, nurses and other staff all specialize in treating children. She’s also glad when kids respond quickly to treatment or when they’re relieved that getting stiches doesn’t hurt.
“Sometimes the kids are in so much respiratory distress,” Murdock said. “We give them a breathing treatment with epinephrine and they get better and get to go home and don’t have to be transported downtown.
“Some of the lacerations, the kids are so scared. We have a topical medicine and it numbs the area so you don’t have to inject it. They can’t believe it doesn’t hurt.”
PCH’s East Valley Clinic, located at 5131 E. Southern Ave. in Mesa, boasts an array of specialists, including cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, pulmonology and neurology.