Eleven pediatricians opened the doors to a new after-hours clinic Saturday morning. Kids 1st exclusively treats children with urgent care needs when doctor's offices are typically closed. Doctors at the clinic said the rush of patients on opening day proved there was a need for a pediatric urgent care center in the metro.
"We'd heard from our patients over and over again of their need for after-hours care," said Dr. Carla Hardzog-Britt, one of the eleven local pediatricians who partnered to open Kids 1st. "We always joke that children know it's five o'clock or it's the weekend and so now it's time to get a fever."
About 30 patients came through the doors of Kids 1st on Saturday. Parents with their sick children said it was nice to finally have an option other than the emergency room for treatment.
"I have four girls under six so someone is always sick," said Sarah Young, who was there with one of the daughters. "It's nice to be able to go somewhere on the weekends or after hours rather than wait until Monday morning."
That is the whole idea behind Kids 1st. It was designed as a one-stop-shop for families seeking treatment when their child becomes sick. Doctors are able to order lab work and x-rays that are done inside the clinic. That means quicker results and the patients won't even have to leave the clinic. On top of the time savings, Dr. Hardzog-Britt said it provides money savings as well.
"It's far less expensive than an emergency room visit would cost," she explained. "Often times the children are being seen for medical problems that really don't need to be seen at an emergency room. They can definitely be seen at a clinic more like this, an after-hours clinic."
The clinic is the first of its kind in Oklahoma City, providing care solely to patients under the age of 18. They only deal with sick patients, which means no physicals or wellness check-ups. For Sarah Young, the option to bring her daughter to a pediatrician when her doctor's office is closed means more specialized care.
"I feel like they know more what the children need," she explained.
Dr. Hardzog-Brill said that should be a concern for parents who currently bring their children to the ER or other urgent care facilities that normally do not have a pediatrician available to check out a young patient.
"Children are not small adults and they don't have the same medical problems as adults have," she explained.
She also stressed the importance of wellness visits to pediatricians for normal check-ups. A clinic such as Kids 1st is not a replacement for those regular visits. She also said parents should try to take their children to their usual pediatrician if they can, but if the offices are closed, Kids 1st is there to treat sick children.
Kids 1st opened its doors Saturday. It is located near May Ave. and 122nd Street in Oklahoma City. The clinic is open Monday-Friday from 5 p.m.-10p.m. On weekends they are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.