ER Docs try laughing gas to calm kids down

Laughing gas used to calm kids down in the Maxima Medical Center's emergency room (Picture: Maxima Medical Center)Laughing gas used to calm kids down in the Maxima Medical Center's emergency room (Picture: Maxima Medical Center)

Doctors at the Maxima Medical Center are using a different approach to calm kids down when they end up in the hospital's emergency room - nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas. According to the hospital, it prevents these children suffering unnecessary pain and anxiety during treatment and also means that treatment can be done faster.

Laughing gas is administered through a face mask, starts working within minutes and works itself out of the child's system after a few seconds. "It does not put you to sleep, but anxiety and pain stimuli do not come through.", emergency doctor Lisette Mignot explains. "Most children remember a feeling comfortable after treatment."

The initiative to start using laughing gas in the emergency room was taken by Mignot and pediatrician Thilo Mohns, with the aim to make the emergency treatment pain-free and child friendly. Previously kids only had one of two options: push through the pain or be admitted so that they can receive pain medication through a drip.

All emergency doctors and nurses were recently trained to administer laughing gas to children. Pediatricians and pediatric nurses of the hospital's Woman Mother Child center received their training a few months ago and have already successfully launched the use of ntirous oxide in the center.

"Advantages are that the treatment goes faster and that ntirous oxide works itself out quickly .This is particularly important of children who are afraid of a blood sample, a drip, stitching or for whom administering a local anesthetic is traumatic without nitrous oxide", according to Mignot.