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Save My Child!

Imagine that your 11-year-old son has just accidentally set himself on fire, and has burns over much of his body. You would probably want him treated at a pediatric emergency room, which specializes in children's injuries.

Six years ago, there were no such facilities. Today there are more than 350, and the field is growing. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is one of the country's busiest, with about 80,000 visits a year.

In 1998, 48 Hours went behind the scenes at Cincinnati Children's Hospital for a firsthand look at two days and nights of fast-paced lifesaving.

Saturday Night in the ER

The doctors and nurses at Cincinnati Children's Hospital see all sorts of injuries - especially on a Saturday night. 48 Hours Correspondent Bill Lagattuta spent a night there, and found an incredible range of injuries and stories.

The night began with a bite. A woman brought in her son William Young, who had been bitten by a dog.

"He told my son that it didn't bite," she said of the dog's owner. "And it did." William was bitten on the lip, so doctors had to give him a rabies shot.

David Meisner brought in his 2-year-old son Herbert, pushed off a table by his older brother--resulting in a cut on his face.

It was an inconvenient time for an accident. David Meisner's wife was past her due date with the couple's sixth child.

After Herbert was stitched up, David Meisner went to be with his wife, at a nearby hospital. Within a few hours, she had the baby: Herbert had a new brother.

That same night Jennifer Andrews arrived at the emergency room because she was climbing a tree with her little brother Timmy. He pointed to a spider.

"There was a spider, and it scared me," Jennifer said.

"She fell and she broke her arm," Timmy said.

Another boy, David Nee, got tangled up in a fence and hurt his arm. An X-ray revealed that he had a broken arm and would need surgery. David had injured it once before.

Two winters prior, David had become tangled up in a different way. "I got our plastic sled and took it down our slide," he said. "It's fun, but also dangerous." He fell off and broke his leg; then on crutches, he slipped and broke his arm.

This same arm he broke again trying to climb the fence--bringing him to the hospital that Saturday evening.

Serious Moments

But in an instant, the mood in the emergency room turned more serious. A helicopter brought in Dewey Bryant, a 7-year-old boy hit by a car.

The driver of the car, Cindy Hall, had carried Dewey into his grandmother's house. She then drove to the hospital to see how he was doing.

Before the accident, he had been playing near the road at his grandmother's house. "I was drving home from a small town on a curvy back country road," said Hall. "The weeds were very high. He was less than 10 feet from my car when he stepped out in front of me. I slammed on the brakes, and he was thrown onto the hood of my car."

She sat in the hospital worried. "I'm just sitting here waiting, hoping somebody will tell me something," Hall said.

Doctors were concerned that Dewey might have serious injuries to his spleen and one lung.

As doctors worked on him, there was no sign of Dewey's parents. Nobody could find them. Hall sat and waited. "I feel like I need to be here," she said.

Doctors couldn't tell her anything about Dewey's condition until his parents had been notified.

Finally, after several hours, Dewey's parents, Kelly and Keith Bryant, were reached; they rushed to the hospital. There was good news: Dewey, not in serious danger, had been transferred out of the emergency room.

He had a lot of what doctors call "road burn." But he was basically ine.

"I'm proud of him for being so strong on his own and everything," said his mother.

Dewey's parents met Hall, still waiting when they arrived. "I was just so thankful that he was all right," she said. "Had he been hurt bad, it would have killed me."

When Dewey was released, he said goodbye to Hall.

"He said he's not going to go in the road anymore," she said. "So that's good."

"He's kind of mine now, I guess," said Hall, who has no children of her own. "He's my little guy. My adopted guy, I guess you could say."

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