If your kid's summer fun goes awry we'll be here for you!

ColbyIn October 2011, Renee Outlaw-James got the call no parent wants to receive. Her 15-year-old son Colby Smothers was riding on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and had been in a serious accident.

She rushed down to the accident site to comfort Colby. “I was terrified for my son.”

Colby’s Road to Recovery

Many patients who come to Arkansas Children’s Hospital because of an injury or accident are first treated in the Emergency Department.

Colby’s injuries were severe and he was immediately admitted to the hospital. He had a traumatic brain injury, so doctors performed surgery to relieve the pressure building in Colby’s brain. They also treated his other injuries - a dislocated shoulder, a broken arm, a lacerated spleen and damage to his right eye. 

“For the first 48 hours, they told us it was a possibility he would not make it,” says Renee.

Colby did make it. “The day he came out of his coma and opened his eyes is a day I will never forget,” says Renee. “I was overwhelmed with happiness and gratitude.”

New Emergency Department Ready for Injured Kids like Colby

Unfortunately, patients like Colby are admitted to Arkansas Children’s Hospital every week. Summer is typically the busiest season in the ACH Emergency Department (ED).

“The most common injuries we see in the ED are falls, motor vehicle crashes and ATV crashes,” says Donna Parnell, trauma program coordinator.

Parnell and her team now have twice as much space to care for injured children. That’s because the new Log a Load for Kids of Arkansas Emergency Department opened in June. There are more exam rooms, all of them private. There’s even a radiology suite in the ED, so patients won’t need to travel to a different part of the hospital for X-rays.

“No matter the time of year, there is always a team of specially-trained health care providers in the ED,” says Parnell. “We’re ready to take care of injured children and their families every day, every month and in every season.”

Renee knows all about the dedicated staff at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. “They really cared about my son. He was not just another patient to them.”

Watch a video from the opening day of the new Emergency Department.  

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