In emergency room, you must be an advocate of your care

10/09/2012 12:00 AM

10/08/2012 2:37 PM

Q. I am upset and would like to know your opinion. My daughter had a dog bite several weeks ago and we went to the emergency room. I was told that the emergency room doctor would take care of her. I asked for a plastic surgeon, but the staff there told me if I wanted to do that it would take hours for that doctor to come in. She went on to say that he could do as good a job as the plastic surgeon. He did the job, but I’m not happy. What do you suggest?

Fortunately, there is always something to do. You need to find a facial plastic or plastic surgeon to evaluate your daughter. Your physician may do nothing and wait to see how she heals or they may suggest some appropriate action.

In general she should avoid the sun and wear sunscreen. It is hard to give you and more specific advice.

On the choosing of whom does your surgery, I have plenty of advice. Do not forget that you and your family are the patient, and you MUST be your own advocate when entering a hospital.

While the emergency room doctor may have done a great job, it is ludicrous for any one to think that an emergency room physician is a good as a facial plastic or plastic surgeon in closing lacerations. One does it all the time; the other does it when he or she has to.

I would suggest that in the last few years, due to financial influences, the desire to close these incisions has grown among emergency room personal. The emergency room physician has an overburden of patients, if they are in any big city hospital, and cannot take the time required for an expert closure.

My advice: Keep the telephone number of a facial plastic or plastic surgeon your family knows on your smart phone, request that they see you in the emergency room and wait to see them.

If you do not know a facial plastic or plastic surgeon, request that you want the on call physician to see you or your family, and wait. It is worth the wait!

About Dr. Carlos Wolf

Dr. Carlos Wolf


Dr. Carlos Wolf has been working in the field of plastic surgery for more than 20 years. He answers your questions about plastic surgery.

Join the Discussion

Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service