Pediatric prehospital care provided by a physician-staffed emergency medical helicopter unit in Finland

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During an 18-month period ending on March 15, 1994, data on all pediatric patients treated by the Helsinki Area Emergency Medical Air Service (HEMS) in Southern Finland were collected. The HEMS operates a physician-staffed helicopter unit which is dispatched by alarm centers connected to a national 112 emergency phone system. Of 1481 emergency missions during the study period, 89 (8%) involved children less than 17 years old. Common pediatric emergencies were trauma (31%), seizures (29%), respiratory problems (14%), and cardiac arrest (9%). Fourteen patients were intubated, an intravenous line was started in 58 patients, and 32 patients received intravenous medication. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was initiated in nine patients. Ten patients were evacuated by helicopter, and 22 patients were transported by ground ambulance with a HEMS physician escort to the hospital. According to this study, the HEMS physicians play an important role also in pediatric prehospital care in their operating area.

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