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Utilizing EMS for pediatric trauma patients changes clinical outcomes

1 August 2003


Pediatric traumas can be devastating to a family" and community. The natural tendency of parents is to assume the medical transport role when their child becomes a victim of trauma. However, what parents fail to realize is that not utilizing emergency medical services (EMS) may affect their child's outcome. The objective of this study is to evaluate whether the outcomes of pediatric trauma patients differs between those whom call and wait for EMS versus those whom were transported independently. The study was conducted by a retrospective review of data from the Alaska Trauma Registry database. Groups were separated by age from 0-14 years old and categorized by those who utilized EMS and those who did not. Injury severity scores were matched to compare groups. Factors evaluated were length of stay, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) days, mortality, and anticipated disability. The p value was set at .05. The results demonstrated an increased length of stay (hospital days and ICU) across all age groups by those transported via ambulance. Patients aged 0-4 had increased mortality and patients aged 10-14 had increased disability if transported via ambulance. This data suggests that all rural patients should not seek EMS services for lower severity pediatric trauma. Further research should examine rendezvous time, scene time and distance to definitive care as possible influential variables .


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