Pediatric prehospital care: Epidemiology of use in a predominantly rural state

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The objective of this study was to analyze, by retrospective review, the pediatric population utilizing emergency medical services (EMS) throughout Kentucky, with particular emphasis on differences between urban and rural areas. The source of the data used was from all prehospital runs in children less than 17 years of age reported in Kentucky in a computerized database to the state EMS branch. There were no interventions. We found that pediatric calls were more frequent in adolescents than younger children. Trauma was more frequent in older children and in rural settings and accounted for nearly 50% of all calls. Motor vehicle accidents were the most frequent cause of traumatic injuries. Run times were prolonged in the rural setting, but this was a reflection of transport rather than scene times. The use of basic life support (BLS) and advanced life support (ALS) procedures was dependent on the patient's age and the level of care of the provider. ALS procedures were infrequently performed, especially in younger patients, although the performance of these procedures did not prolong scene times. We conclude that educational initiatives for pediatric care in the prehospital setting should include assessment and stabilization of children, including appropriate procedures, both for ALS and BLS providers. Prehospital data should be linked with police reports and emergency department data to provide means of assessing the impact of prehospital services on outcome in pediatric patients.

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