Many Emergency Rooms Not Equipped to Treat Children
Taking your child to the emergency room is a scary experience, but many parents go through it at some point since kids tend to be accident-prone daredevils. They’re also more likely to be hit harder by common ailments, such as the flu. Unfortunately, despite the fact that children accounted for 20 percent of ER visits in 2006, most emergency rooms are ill-equipped to care for their tiny bodies.
September 21, 2009, ABC News reported, “Out of almost 4,000 EDs in the U.S., only 6 percent are fully prepared to properly care for pediatric patients, according to a new joint policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), published today in the journal Pediatrics.”
The writer attributed this to the fact that small-town hospitals may not see enough pediatric patients to justify the expense of child-sized blood pressure cuffs and the like. Worse, some emergency rooms lack doctors trained in pediatric medicine.
“Currently, there are 758 active pediatric ED doctors,” ABC News stated. “Without trained pediatric emergency physicians, patients are subject to delays as equipment is gathered or as they are stabilized for transfer to a different facility.”
As one doctor stated, it’s imperative that every emergency room be able to treat any patient it sees. “In a state of crisis, most people will go wherever is closest, or wherever the ambulance takes them. They should not have to second-guess whether that is a wise choice.”