Breaking an Arm or a Leg
Unfortunaly having experienced multiple broken arms, we have loved UCSF children's hospital in Oakland. A pediatric ER is amazing and has everything kid-sized, and the doctors and nurses there have been great, even when they are super busy. It's one of the reasons why we wouldn't want to leave the Bay Area. We also always called an ambulance for (clearly) broken bones since the EMTs can properly wrap the injured limb before jostling it around in transport, and it gets you past the waiting room.
My 6yo daughter broke her arm this summer and we went to the Oakland Kaiser ER. Her arm bone was visibly broken and there was a small wound where the bone had pushed through the skin in the fall. We saw the triage person almost immediately and he offered her a sling and said that he would try to make sure she got seen as soon as possible. We waited in the waiting room for about 20 minutes, after which I asked the triage person if they could give her anything for pain, even over the counter stuff. He said they can't, it has to be prescribed by a doctor. He did manage to get us into a room about 15 minutes after that though (so waiting outside for 45 minutes) while my daughter was hugging her arm and going in and out of crying inconsolably with moments of gritting her teeth and just getting through it. Once we got into a room, it was at least another half hour before she was offered Tylenol, so overall, from the fall to pain medication, my daughter had to wait about 2 hours. Once she was seen by a doctor though, they offered her morphine, but as the Tylenol seemed to take the worst of the pain away, we rejected it. Over the time we were there, we asked for pain medication to be given several times before it was, and kept getting the same answer about a doctor having to see the patient first, which was really excruciating for us. My daughter ended up needing to go under general anesthetic for wound cleaning later though so I guess they also just don't know what the next steps are going to be, so are hesitant to give anything without a consultation with the doctor. I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole thing, but overall, I'm grateful for the care she got, and she healed really well. If something like this happens again, I might just give my kid some Tylenol en route to the hospital and let the doctors know what we administered. I'm sorry you had to go through this with your son and I hope he's healing well, and that you're recovering from this traumatic situation as well.