Understanding Texas Children’s Emergency Centers: Medical Center Campus Versus West Campus

Texas Childrens Emergency CenterI thought I’d jump start this blog with a brief introduction of our 2 campuses’ emergency centers. Each year, the Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center and West Campus Emergency Centers (ECs) collectively treat more than 120,000 patients! Both campuses offer emergency services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — and are staffed by full-time, board-certified pediatric emergency medicine physicians, pediatricians, advanced practice providers (EC-trained nurse practitioners and physician assistants), and pediatric nurses, along with ancillary services such as respiratory therapists, child life specialists, social workers and Spanish translators.

Although both Texas Children’s ECs are staffed by the same physicians and advanced practice providers (we commute and work in both locations!) and offer similar pediatric care and treatment, there are a few differences between the 2 campuses:

  1. Size: The Texas Children’s Medical Center EC, the largest in South Central Texas, houses a 70+-bed EC, which is divided into several different treatment areas: a main EC (includes a 2-bed trauma/resuscitation room), rapid treatment area (RTA), fast track or urgent care center and an observation unit. The Texas Children’s West Campus EC is composed of 14 beds, including a rapid treatment area and 2-bed resuscitation room.
  2. Teaching: The Medical Center campus is home to one of the largest pediatric residency and pediatric emergency medicine fellowship programs in the country. Within certain areas of the Medical Center EC, your child may be evaluated by multiple EC physicians, including a resident (doctor who has completed medical school and is learning about pediatrics or emergency medicine), fellow (pediatrician or emergency medicine doctor who is learning about pediatric emergency medicine), and attending (board-certified pediatric emergency medicine doctor or  pediatrician – “doctor in charge”). Currently, at the West Campus EC, your child will be evaluated by 1 or 2 attending physicians or advanced practice providers. For more information about the different types of doctors, nurses and staff members on your child’s medical team, check out this video.
  3. Research: Although you and/or your child’s role can range from filling out a survey to trying a new treatment, pediatric research is an important way for us to continuously improve the health and treatment of all children. In order to ensure your child’s safety and best interests, all of the research studies conducted at Texas Children’s Hospital must go through a very strict review process prior to asking you for your child’s permission to participate in the study. Currently, most of our research studies are being conducted at our Medical Center EC, and so, during your visit, you may be approached by a physician, nurse or research assistant (staff trained to discuss and enroll patients for research studies) asking for you and your child’s participation in an EC-related research study.
  4. Trauma: In 2010, the Texas Children’s Medical Center campus joined 2 other hospitals in Harris County as a level 1 (“highest level” on a 1 to 5 trauma scale) trauma center. Because level 1 pediatric trauma centers are required to provide 24-hour specialty (including surgical subspecialty) coverage and resources, most children with life-threatening injuries are usually evaluated and treated at the Medical Center campus. It’s important to remember, though, that most childhood injuries are — fortunately — not life-threatening, and can be successfully treated at non-level 1 trauma centers, such as the West Campus EC.

Regardless of these differences, both Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center and West Campus Emergency Centers are fully equipped and staffed to provide emergent medical care for all pediatric illnesses and injuries. In the rare situation that your child requires transfer between our 2 campuses, an efficient and seamless transfer process has been developed! Above all else, your child’s health and safety is our #1 priority, and we are prepared and ready to help your child during those emergent, and oftentimes, unexpected situations.

The Texas Children’s Medical Center EC is located at 6621 Fannin St Houston, TX 77030 (off of Fannin and Holcombe). The Texas Children’s West Campus EC is located at 18200 Katy Freeway Houston, TX 77094 (off of I-10 and Barker Cypress).

About Dr. Katherine Leaming-Van Zandt

I am a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Texas Children's Hospital Main and West Campuses, and am board certified in both pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine.

My academic interests include: patient and family-centered care, physician/patient communication and patient satisfaction.

Posted in Intensive Care, Parenting, West Campus

3 Responses to Understanding Texas Children’s Emergency Centers: Medical Center Campus Versus West Campus

  1. Rachael Walker says:

    Another person you might meet is called a Child LIfe Specialist, they work like teachers in the hospital. A Child LIfe Specialist will explain what the doctors will do to help you feel better and they work with your medical team to develop a plan to best support you and your family.

  2. Allen DSouza says:

    I had a very bad experience today at the West Campus EC. My 3 year old daughter was complaining of severe abdominal pain and after a nearby Urgent Care refused to take her in stating she be taken to the ER, we chose the West Campus EC. We were there at 7 PM and after a long grueling wait of over 4 hours, we left disappointed and frustrated without a doctor seeing her.

    I understand that things are not on a First Come First Serve Basis, but if an EC wait is 4 + hours they should drop the letter E from EC or simply realize they are severely understaffed.

    • admin admin says:

      We are sorry to hear that you had a frustrating experience in the EC. Our family advocate would be happy to speak with you further and can be reached by calling 832-824-1919.

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