The Grapevine

Children Die Sooner In Pediatric Emergency Units With Poor Facilities

Children in need of urgent medical attention are three times more likely to die at hospitals ill-equipped to address their critical state. A study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, UCLA and the University of Utah said that children admitted to emergency departments that were fully prepared to meet the specific needs of children had more chances of survival.  

The cases of children studied were of those in need of immediate help, otherwise leading to death. Researchers analyzed 'pediatric readiness'. It refers to an assessment of medical equipment, protocols and educational programs for doctors designed to target critically ill children at emergency departments. All the parameters had to be up to date with the latest regulations of pediatric care.

A 100-point scale was used to rate the factors that indicate the hospital’s capacity to treat such children and provide them with timely treatment. Data of the medical intervention provided to children in 426 hospitals in Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nebraska and New York was taken from the 2013 National Pediatric Readiness Project. They examined records of 20,483 children in need of urgent medical care to determine the mortality rate.

For hospitals that recieved a score higher than 88, the mortality rate was seen to be 3.4 percent in critically ill children. While the other hospitals rated between 30 and 50 had a mortality rate of 11 percent in children with life threatening conditions. 

"Our findings indicate that it matters which hospital a critically ill or injured child is brought to in an emergency," Jennifer Marin, study co-author and an emergency physician at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, said in the press release. "A hospital's pediatric readiness should be a factor in determining to which hospital a critically ill child should be transported," she added. 

Lead author Stefanie Ames, MD at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital said that a combination of investing resources in hospitals rarely visited by children and improving emergency units with high pediatric readiness is needed. She also encouraged the usage of telemedicine to make quick referrals to hospitals better equipped to deal with the case. “There likely isn't one perfect solution to the disparity in outcomes,” she noted in the study. 

Children Online Children admitted to badly equipped hospitals face higher mortality rates. Pixabay