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Saving Your Kid's Face

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Does your kid need stitches? Demand a plastic surgeon.

Sad little girl

Vivian Manning-Schaffel: A few years back, my pal Erin's daughter Lucie was playing at a park with my son. Soon after we left, Lucie took a hell of a fall, leaving her mom in a hell of a panic.

"By the sheer force of the impact, her cheek split wide open along the jawline," says Erin. "I knew right away she needed stitches."

While waiting for an ambulance to arrive, she made a few calls to family members in the medical profession, who tipped her off about requesting a plastic surgeon so Lucie wouldn't have a scar on her face. "I wouldn't have known that otherwise," Erin says.

Turns out, upon arrival at the emergency room, she was told her daughter could get stitched up immediately by the ER doc on duty, or they could wait an hour for the plastic surgeon, who was on his way.

"We opted to wait," Erin explains. "And if a plastic surgeon wasn't an option, I know for sure I would've fought for it. I heard the guy had a great reputation, so that made me feel good. And I felt that, even if Lucie ended up with a scar, I did everything I could to keep that from happening. Kids have perfect, beautiful little faces without any blemishes. For girls especially, a scar on her face is a very big deal. I would prefer not to have the scars that I have."

Today, Lucie's scar can barely be seen by the naked eye, and thanks to Erin's diligence in applying Mederma, the reminder of her fall is fading fast.

So dear readers, take a tip from my girl Erin. If your child ever needs stitches, you have every right to ask for a plastic surgeon. Speak up -- and save face!

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Pharme525 December 4, 2009, 9:25 AM

Very nice site!

Skindoc December 5, 2009, 5:19 PM

It’s fine to request a plastic surgeon in the Emergency Room. But understand two things. The on-call surgeon may not come in for a simple laceration that the ER physician can close himself. Secondly, the plastic surgeon is going to bill for his services seperately, and may not accept your insurance plan. The plastic surgeon can bill your insurance company any amount he chooses. If you are uninsured or do not have out of network benefits- you will be billed directly. Make sure you understand that ramifications of requesting a plastic surgeon to close simple lacerations in the ER.

Jen September 26, 2010, 11:13 AM

Skindoc: Your comment is true, but I think the point of this article was to inform parents of the surgical options. In such a traumatic situation, the financial impact is not the first concern. Attending to the wound in a the most proactive way to reduce scarring is. Especially to a parent! Bills can be dealt with later. I’m sure many parents would rather pay out of pocket than feel they took a cheaper option and left their kid with a scar that is worse than it had to be.

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