Emergency Medicine

The staff of UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh's Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine evaluates and treats nearly 70,000 children in the Emergency Department each year. Acute and chronic problems of all levels of severity, including acute illnesses, exacerbations of chronic problems and all types of injuries are managed by the faculty and staff. An attending-level pediatric emergency physician is on duty for direct patient care and supervision of all patients seen in the Emergency Department 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The mission of the staff of the Emergency Department is to deliver the highest quality care to children with acute illnesses and injuries, as well as provide excellence in service to our patients and referring physicians.

COVID-19 Tests

If your child has mild COVID-19 symptoms, call their pediatrician or use UPMC Children’s AnywhereCare to arrange COVID-19 testing. A doctor’s referral and appointment are needed for testing. COVID-19 testing is available at many of our locations, including most UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics and all UPMC Children’s Express Care locations.

If your child has breathing problems or other severe, life-threatening symptoms, call 911 or visit the nearest Emergency Department. Please do not visit the Emergency Department for testing unless your child’s COVID-19 symptoms are severe.

Click here for more information on testing for COVID-19. 

Sign up or learn more about UPMC Children’s AnywhereCare here.

Wait Times

View our wait times for the Emergency Room and Children’s Express Care – Lawrenceville.

Smartphone Updates with EDAdvisor

With EDAdvisor you receive updates about your children’s care right to your and your family’s smartphones. Provide your cell phone number during or any time after registration to get started. No sign-up or app download required.

With EDAdvisor, you can:

  • View estimated wait times
  • Share your visit timeline with family
  • Get answers to common questions

Pediatric Trauma Care

Children’s Emergency Department has been designated as the region’s only Level 1 (highest level) Regional Resource Pediatric Trauma Center. Subspecialists in all pediatric medical and surgical disciplines are available to provide the highest level of definitive care. The Emergency Department also includes the Fast Track area where children with mild acute illnesses and injuries are evaluated and treated. No appointment is required.

Referrals, Transfers and Transport

Children’s Hospital’s Communications Center responds to all emergency calls from referring physicians or institutions, including calls for transport, referral and consultation. Staffed by trained dispatchers, the Communications Center refers surgical consultation calls to the senior pediatric surgery fellow and refers medical emergencies and transport calls to the pediatric intensive care fellow.

Arrangements for ground and air transportation are coordinated and monitored by the Communications Center dispatcher. Continuous updates are provided to the receiving physician. Medical advice is provided to the referring physician for stabilization prior to transport with backup from both attending surgeons and intensivists who are available 24 hours a day via phone. In addition, multiple conferencing capabilities enable consultation with appropriate specialists.

Primary care physicians may call (412-692-8431) or fax (412-692-3558) the Emergency Department directly regarding patients who are being referred for care from the office or clinic.

For Physicians

A multidisciplinary clinical effectiveness team at Children’s Hospital has developed a number of practice guidelines, including for the management of bronchiolitis, asthma, gastroenteritis and more.

Bronchiolitis Practice Guideline

Information Sheet for Parents (PDF)

Research and Clinical Studies

As a nationally recognized research center, UPMC Children’s Hospital’s Brain Care Institute participates in the latest clinical studies, which involve human volunteers and are intended to add to our medical understanding.

Referral Requirements

Most health insurance plans require patients to receive a referral from a primary care physician prior to or within 24 hours of a visit to the Emergency Department.