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Emergency Medical Services for Children Week Focuses Attention on Nationwide Need
Any physician understands that when it comes to medical care, children respond differently physically, emotionally and psychologically to illness and injury than do adults. Unfortunately, the hospitals where pediatric doctors practice lag far behind in that understanding. In fact, statistics show that although children make up 27 percent of all visits to hospital emergency departments nationwide, many hospitals and emergency medical services (EMS) agencies are ill-equipped to properly treat their youngest patients.
To boost awareness of the need for expansion of specialized care for children in pre-hospital and acute care settings, the federal EMC Program and the American College of Emergency Physicians collaborate annually to observe Emergency Medical Services for Children Week. Each year, healthcare facilities, professionals and advocates nationwide celebrate with grassroots activities designed to promote understanding of the issue.
Statistics certainly prove the point of the observance. In a 332-hospital survey conducted in 2006, researchers found that:
- Only 7.2 percent of the nation's hospital emergency departments had all recommended pediatric supplies;
- Fewer than half, 45.6-percent, had at least 85 percent of the recommended supplies;
- Just 26 percent implemented all recommended pediatric policies;
- Most states have just one dedicated pediatric hospital, while several have none.
Research also shows that emergency departments of children's hospitals and hospitals with dedicated pediatric intensive care units are more likely to meet industry-recommended guidelines and best practices for pediatric emergency department services, expertise and supplies, including critical supplies for resuscitation. Yet, they were least likely to have important supplies for airway management and vascular access. So, even facilities dedicated solely to the treatment of infants, children and teens have room for improvement.
Here at Todd E. Copeland & Associates in Orlando, personal injury and birth injury attorneys applaud efforts by the hospital and healthcare industry and children's advocates to improve treatment practices, protocols and policies that will benefit young patients. If you believe your child has suffered an injury, illness or even death due to a medical facility or provider's negligence or lack of necessary equipment or policies, contact us at 407-999-8995.