Oncology and Sickle Cell Emergencies

Oncology Emergencies

The Oncology (Cancer) Team at Children’s of Alabama is here to help you.

For life-threatening emergencies, dial 911
For urgent calls, dial 205-638-9285

  • During regular office hours (Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.):
    • Press “3” and ask for the Oncology Nurse
  • After hours (Evenings/Weekends/or Holidays):
    • Press “9” and ask for the Oncology Nurse On-Call

Call 911 if your child has a life threatening issue, such as:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid, painful breathing and/or shortness of breath
  • Unresponsiveness, seizure, sudden change in behavior, confusion

Call the nurse immediately if your child has any of these urgent health issues:

  • Fever of 100.4 degrees or higher
  • Chills (even without fever)
  • Bleeding - nosebleed, bleeding gums, blood in urine, stool or vomit,
    bruising, tiny red spots on the skin
  • Dehydration - vomiting that does not get better after taking anti-nausea medicines,
    unable to drink fluids, watery stools more than 3 times in 24 hours,
    no urination for more than 12 hours (or more than 6 hours if the child is younger than 3 years old), dry mouth, listlessness (feeling washed out/sluggish/not active), dizziness
  • Uncontrolled pain – such as severe headache, stiffness of the neck or back,
    headache that lasts more than 2-3 days after a spinal tap, severe stomach pains
  • Symptoms of infection, such as frequent, hard cough (especially if it causes chest pain), earache, sore throat
  • Blisters, sores, rashes, or bug bites on the skin that are painful, red, swollen,
    or warm to touch
  • Ulcers (sores) or pain in the mouth or around the rectum, white patches in the mouth
  • Other worrisome symptoms, such as feeling very tired, a sudden change in vision,
    or new weakness of the face, arm, or leg
  • Redness, swelling, or drainage around the port, central line, or other surgical site
  • Exposure to chickenpox or shingles (herpes zoster)

Contact Us

This information will hopefully give you some basic guidelines for handling problems you may have at home. Obviously, other situations may arise that concern you. We want to know anything that worries you.

If you are calling for routine questions and appointments, please call during office hours and follow the phone tree directions.


Sickle Cell Emergencies

The Hematology Team at Children’s of Alabama is here to help you.

For life-threatening emergencies, dial 911
For urgent calls, dial 205-638-9285

  • During regular office hours (Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.):
    • Press “3” and ask for the Hematology Nurse
  • After hours (Evenings/Weekends/or Holidays):
    • Press “9” and ask for the Hematology Physician On-Call. Please use this after-hours line for emergencies only.

When to call 911:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid, painful breathing and/ or shortness of breath
  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech
  • Unresponsive, sudden change in behavior, confusion

When to call the nurse immediately:

  • A temperature of 101 degrees or higher
  • Severe headache
  • Cough with chest pain and fever