Compassion, Empathy and Understanding
A Profile of Milan D. Nadkarni, MD
“Children are not small adults. People think we can use adult equipment and medications for children, but we can’t. The mask, the IV units, the cantilevers – everything is different from what an adult needs.”
Dr. Milan Nadkarni, director of pediatric emergency medicine and associate professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Brenner Children’s Emergency Department (ED) is taking a few moments away from his busy schedule. In just a few days, the ED’s new facility will open just a few steps away from its current location. In this new space, designed from the ground up to provide exceptional emergency care for children, Nadkarni and his emergency physician associates will deliver the high-level care that has defined the Brenner Difference.
“Think about your child coming to an ER,” Nadkarni says. “They’re not in the best mood because they’re not feeling well. [At Brenner] they won’t come to an ED where they see a dull environment. They won’t be sitting next to a sick adult patient who may or may not be intimidating to them. When you come to our ED, you are going to see a very colorful, child-friendly place.”
Brenner patients will always see a specially trained physician at the ED, and will also have access to highly trained nursing support staff, as well as 130 doctors trained in 30 different specialties. This means that patients are seen by some of the best – and experienced – doctors in the region.
“When you have a child who has been hit by a truck,” says Nadkarni, “that child will get treatment, not only from emergency specialists, but also from surgeons who are trained in trauma, which may include neurosurgeons and anesthesiologists.”
Brenner’s doctors are on-call at all times to help with any type of emergency, from the common to most complex. These doctors are not just trained medically, but also in the psychology of children.
“We have the medications, tools and necessary training to help take away anxiety for children with minor procedures, and the correct sedation measures to help children facing more serious medical emergencies, which are not available at general emergency departments,” says Nadkarni.
For Nadkarni, high-level clinical care is just one part of his philosophy of medicine. The other part comes from the core components of patient care that he learned more than 15 years ago as a young father: compassion, empathy and understanding.
“When my younger son was just four months old, he had a very small diaper rash,” Nadkarni says. “My wife woke me at three in the morning to show me the rash. It was then that I realized that for mothers, every small problem is a medical emergency. Instead of looking down on her complaint, I learned in that moment that I needed to respect her worries for her child and to do the same for every mother and father that comes to my emergency department.”
Today, that lesson is a driving force behind Nadkarni’s commitment to provide the best possible care to his patients. When the self-standing pediatric ED opens in just a few days, Milan Nadkarni will be ready to deliver exceptional care to each patient that walks through its doors.