By Kimberly A. Garcia
The searing, bloodcurdling scream coming from my 8-year old son, Alex, sent me flying down the stairs to the kitchen, imagining all of the worst possible scenarios.
It was Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving. My husband, Guillermo was making tea and Alex was pouring himself a glass of milk wearing nothing but his underwear and socks. None of us is sure how it happened, but somehow, Alex got right in his dad’s way as he was carrying a pot of boiling tea from the stove to the sink. Next thing they knew, the boiling water had spilled on Alex’s bare skin along the right side of his body.
When I got to the kitchen, Guillermo was pulling ice packs out of the freezer and putting them on Alex where he was burned—his shoulder, chest, back, and groin. I knew that wouldn’t do it. I immediately got Alex upstairs and got him into a cold shower, underwear, socks and all.
My mind was racing, “What do we do? What do we do?” I took a breath and looked at Alex. His skin was bright red—like a bad sunburn—but thankfully, it wasn’t bubbling so I knew he didn’t need to be rushed to the hospital. When he came out of the shower, I gave him some Tylenol and sprayed some lidocaine on the area. Alex calmed down and his only complaint was that his skin felt very hot. We put him to bed with a fan blowing right next to him.
It was the next morning when I got really worried. Alex woke up feeling fine but he had a big blister on his chest that had popped in his sleep so his skin was peeling. I thought—okay, what to do now? I knew I didn’t want to go to the emergency room, who wants to do that? We recently had an ER experience with my daughter, Elizabeth. We waited 6 hours and paid a $250 co-pay for advice that we could’ve gotten in a telephone consultation. On the other hand, I wanted to make sure Alex was okay.
Thankfully, I realized that I had instant access to a doctor via my eMD Access phone app. eMD Access is Austin Regional Clinic’s telemedicine option which has been available to ARC employees for the past year. The service will be available to the public soon. On eMD access, you can choose to instant message a doctor on call or book a video visit via secure mobile and online platforms. You can even attach photos and files with your messages.
I decided to use the eMD Access phone app and, within minutes, Dr. Kimball “Wayne” Bockmon responded to my instant message. I sent him a few photos of Alex’s blistered skin, and to our relief, he said that it didn’t look too bad. Dr. Bockmon instructed us to monitor Alex for fever and to be on the lookout for any puss draining from his wounds. He then prescribed an antibiotic cream and advised us not to use lidocaine on him anymore because it can cause a rash on top of the burn and just compound the problem.
That was all the advice we needed. Within a couple of days, Alex felt better and his burns started to look better. He even began showing off his “battle wounds.” By the time he went to school the Monday after Thanksgiving, he still wore bandages, but was doing great. Now, only a few weeks later, most of his skin is back to normal.
I am so grateful for the peace of mind that came with Dr. Bockmon’s advice. It was reassuring to know that we had done the right thing, that Alex would be okay, and that we knew what symptoms to watch for. Without eMD Access, we probably would have ended up sitting in the emergency room for 6 hours and paying a co-pay only to get the very same advice that we got instantly.
I highly recommend eMD Access for parents. With kids, so many medical situations come up for which you just need some quick advice or reassurance. As parents, we worry and we want to make sure that we are doing the best for our children. When you need more than peace of mind, eMD Access is there.
eMD Access is coming in January 2017! To learn more about how you can get instant access to a doctor from your phone, please visit eMDAccess.com and click the “Request Information” box.
Disclaimer: The photographs included do not depict the actual patient or patient’s child.