Mercy Hospital
305.854.4400
Mercy Hospital is a 488-bed acute care U.S. hospital located in Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida. It is Miami-Dade County’s only Catholic hospital and is a recipient of the MAGNET award.

4 Helpful Tips for Bringing Your Child to the ER

Since it’s not possible to predict when you might need to take your child to the emergency department, it’s best to know in advance where the nearest ER is and what you’ll need to bring. The emergency care team at Mercy Hospital recommends that parents compile their children’s medical information in advance and, if time allows, pack a small overnight bag just in case children need to be admitted to the hospital.

Compile Important Information

The emergency care physicians and nurses need to know your child’s medical history before they can treat him or her. It’s a good idea to keep a written record of your child’s medications and medical conditions, including allergies. Keep a record of your child’s previous hospitalizations, surgeries or other medical procedures, and recent illnesses. Write down any relevant family medical history information and keep track of your child’s immunizations. Keep a copy of your child’s medical history in a place where it is easily accessible in the event of an emergency. Be sure your child’s babysitters and other caregivers know where this document is. Additionally, fill out a “consent to treat” form for caregivers to bring to the ER.

Pack a Small Bag

As long as your child doesn’t need to be rushed to the ER immediately, take a few minutes to pack a small bag with some overnight items, just in case hospitalization is necessary. Additionally, bring along some comfort items, such as your child’s favorite stuffed animal, book, or toy.

Reassure Your Child

Using age-appropriate language, reassure your child and let him or her know that it’s alright to let the doctor or nurse conduct an exam. Even if you have an older child, it’s advisable to remain with him or her at all times to provide comfort.

Avoid Letting Your Child Eat or Drink

Make a note of when your child last had something to eat or drink, and prevent him or her from consuming anything while you wait in the ER. This is critical because children may sometimes need to be sedated for routine tests, such as imaging studies.

If your child is experiencing a medical emergency and needs prompt transportation to the ER in Miami, please call 911 immediately. For general questions of a non-emergency nature, you’re welcome to call Mercy Hospital at (305) 854-4400. Our registered nurse can provide general healthcare information and referrals to specialists.


Debunking Common Myths About Heart Disease

As a leading cause of death in the U.S., heart disease should be a major concern for everyone. By becoming better informed about heart disease, you may be able to reduce your risk of developing cardiac problems. If you already do have a heart condition, consider talking to a cardiac care specialist at Mercy Hospital about your medical management options.

Heart Disease Only Affects Older Adults

One of the most pervasive myths about heart disease is that only seniors develop it. In fact, younger patients can be diagnosed with some form of heart disease, such as arrhythmias, coronary artery disease (CAD), and valvular heart disease. Cardiac researchers now know that a foundation for heart disease can be established in childhood. Children and teens with unhealthy diets and a sedentary lifestyle are at a higher risk of developing plaque buildup in the arteries, which contributes to cardiac problems later in life.

It’s Easy to Detect a Heart Attack

Sometimes, it is easy to determine when someone is having a heart attack. Severe chest pain is a classic indicator that emergency care is required. However, many people do not experience chest pain while having a heart attack. This is particularly common among women, who may easily mistake their symptoms for those of a panic attack. These symptoms can include nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, cold sweats, and severe anxiety.

Heart Attack Patients Must Avoid Exercise

Perhaps one of the most detrimental myths about heart disease is that heart attack survivors should try to avoid exerting themselves for fear of triggering another heart attack. In fact, exercising as soon as possible after a heart attack is highly recommended, as long as patients exercise under a doctor’s supervision. Heart attack survivors who work through a cardiac rehabilitation program that includes exercise tend to live longer.

The heart and vascular department at Mercy Hospital provides sophisticated cardiac care, including minimally invasive procedures and diagnostic imaging in Miami. If you think you could be experiencing a cardiac emergency, please call 911 for transportation to an emergency department. Patients with non-emergency healthcare concerns can call our community hospital at (305) 854-4400.


A Patient's Guide to Gallstones

Doctor and senior patient

If you’ve recently visited your local hospital because of abdominal pain, you may have been diagnosed with choledocholithiasis, which refers to the presence of one or more gallstones in the common bile duct. The gallbladder is responsible for storing bile, a digestive fluid, which is used within the small intestine. The common bile duct transports bile from the gallbladder to the small intestine. Gallstones are hard deposits comprised of bile. They can range widely in size and a patient may have just one gallstone or many. At your community hospital, your doctor can help you explore treatment options for gallstones.

Symptoms

At your local hospital, inform your doctor of all of your symptoms. Choledocholithiasis commonly causes pain in the upper right or middle abdominal area that typically lasts at least 30 minutes. It may feel sharp or it may feel like cramps. Additionally, this condition may cause nausea, vomiting, fever, jaundice, loss of appetite, and clay-colored stools.

Risk Factors

If you have a prior history of gallstones, you may be at an increased risk of choledocholithiasis. You may develop choledocholithiasis even if you have had your gallbladder removed, since the common bile duct remains. Other risk factors are believed to include liver cirrhosis, biliary tract infections, and hereditary blood disorders that result in the overproduction of bilirubin.

Treatments

 If left untreated, choledocholithiasis may place you at risk of developing complications such as pancreatitis, biliary cirrhosis, and cholangitis. However, effective treatment options for choledocholithiasis are available. Your doctor might recommend a procedure such as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). During this procedure, an endoscope will be inserted down your esophagus and stomach. A catheter is inserted through this instrument and placed in the ducts. The doctor may then perform a sphincterotomy, which involves opening the ducts’ entry to the bowels.

Gastroenterological Services at Mercy Hospital provides Miami-Dade residents with comprehensive care for digestive problems, including choledoscopy, which is the use of a fiber optic endoscope for enhanced visualization during ERCP. The gastroenterologists and surgeons at our hospital are dedicated to maintaining a high level of patient care and safety. If you’re weighing your gallstone treatment options, you might consider speaking with a registered nurse at our hospital in Miami by calling (305) 854-4400.


Cancer Treatment Side Effects

After undergoing cancer treatment, you can talk to your physician about the possible late effects of cancer treatment. These effects can persist for months or years after treatment; in some cases, certain side effects may be permanent. However, there are ways of managing these issues. It’s common to experience persistent fatigue after cancer treatment. You might also notice changes in your skin, lymphedema, nerve pain, and cognitive changes.

Hear more about the late effects of cancer treatment by watching this video. This doctor from the American Cancer Society urges cancer survivors to discuss their symptoms with their physicians and learn about options for managing them. A neuropsychologist can help patients with cognitive changes, for example. Physical therapy and occupational therapy are also helpful for regaining function.

The Miami Cancer Center at Mercy Hospital provides compassionate care for cancer patients, survivors, and their families. Residents throughout the Miami-Dade area can reach our community hospital at (305) 854-4400.


When Should You Talk to Your Doctor About Stress?

Stressed business woman

During times of stress, your body responds in a number of ways. Hormones and nerve chemicals are released that trigger a person’s “fight or flight” instinct, and bodily changes occur, such as faster breathing, tensed muscles, and a quicker pulse. Not all stress involves negative reactions. However, when the body is under stress on a prolonged basis, adverse physical and mental issues can arise. If you feel constantly under stress or you’ve experienced a traumatic event such as job loss or a major illness, it may be time to visit your local  community hospital. At Mercy hospital, you can share your concerns with your physician and learn about treatment options.

Identifying the Signs and Symptoms of Stress

When you meet your doctor at the hospital, he or she may ask you to describe the signs and symptoms you’ve experienced. Significant or chronic stress may involve issues such as changes in eating or sleeping habits, problems making decisions, difficulty staying organized, and problems concentrating. You may feel as though you’re more emotional than usual and you may experience physical symptoms such as neck and back pain, heart palpitations, tension headaches, and gastrointestinal distress.

Experiencing Complications of Stress

You may wish to consider seeing a doctor about your mental health concerns, particularly if you experience any complications from chronic or significant stress. Stress and anxiety may interfere with your ability to carry out day-to-day activities. You may experience problems with productivity at work or school, suffer from irrational fears, or feel unable to cope with life’s daily problems. Chronic stress can lead to weight loss or gain, sleep deprivation, and social withdrawal. It may also raise the risk of engaging in self-injurious behaviors.

At the Behavioral Health Services unit at Mercy Hospital, Miami-Dade families will find caring professionals who are committed to offering personalized treatment of behavioral health concerns, including anxiety disorders and depression. Our hospital also provides Miami residents with emergency care, maternity services, and cancer care. To reach a registered nurse at our community hospital, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (305) 854-4400.


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